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FAQs about Circulation in Marine Systems 9

Related Articles: Circulation, Submersible Pump Selection, Efficiency and Price Assessments by Steven Pro, Inexpensive Wavemaker Impressions, by Steven Pro, Plumbing Marine Systems, Holes & Drilling, Aeration, Water Flow, How Much is Enough, Powerhead Impressions by Steven Pro, Marine System ComponentsRefugiums, Central FiltrationFlow-through Live-holding Systems, Refugiums, Business Set-Up

Related FAQs: Marine Circulation 1, Marine Circulation 2, Marine Circulation 3, Marine Circulation 4Marine Circulation 5Marine Circulation 6, Marine Circulation 7, Marine Circulation 8 & FAQs on: Rationale, Designs, Pumps, Plumbing, What's About the Right Amount, Troubleshooting/Repair, & AerationPumps, PlumbingMake Up Water Systems, Sumps RefugiumsGear Selection for Circulation, Powerheads, Pump ProblemsSurge Devices

Almost all systems are undercirculated. A Condy(lactis) in Jamaica.

Glass tank and wave maker       3/21/20
Hello crew!
<Hello Thanasis>
I have a 300 liters reef tank and I use a Vortech mp40 pump for circulation. Is it safe to use the wave mode since my tank is rimless?
<It is safe, but there are a couple of things you must consider:
•Water movement produced on wave mode generates more stress to the joints and requires the tank to be well reinforced.
•Without a rim, the tank is not as sturdy as it is with it, besides...the water may spill out unless you also lower the level a bit.>
Secondly, the tank is 16 years old. Should I worry about leakages?
<If the silicone in all the joints looks even and thick enough, you can use the tank as is, otherwise you would have to remove it and apply new silicone to the whole tank.>
Thanks in advance,
Thanasis Papavasileiou
<You’re welcome. Wil.>

Closed Loop vs. Powerheads         12/19/15
I am building a new 220 gallon display system, but can't seem to find recent answers on whether closed loop is still a solid choice for circulation.
<See WWM re my and others archived opinions.... Is NOT IMO.... better by far to provide all circulation "in-tank".... less chance of leaks, disasters, easier to regulate volume, direction of flow. Less likelihood (because the previous are sub-divided by using more than one pump) to avoid problems/issues w/ intakes... Less money for operation as well>

My current tank plan looks like the attached image. The closed loop(s) would run from the two drains low on the back wall of the tank to the four return holes at the front of the tank and the two return holes low in the back of the tank. I am considering driving the closed loop with either one or two Vectra L1 DC controllable pumps from EcoTech.
<Good products>
Two L1 DC pumps on reef crest random mode should produce about 1800 GPH each on average with peaks at about 3000 GPH each. This I believe will be plenty of turbulent flow for my reef, while a single pump might be sub-par as well as less turbulent. The return pump will be supplying the to returns at the top of the tank but its flow will be much lower (and constant) so I am ignoring it for circulation purposes.
<I wouldn't.... the air/water interface is the best area for providing such>

The question is: based on what I've read here and elsewhere, it seems like many aquarists are favouring various modern powerheads rather than closed loops.
<Mmm; better labeled as internal or submersible pumps>
What is the consensus of opinion (if there is one) among the crew about the suitability of my design / the general suitability of closed loops for reefs in today's (2015) technology?
<Can't won't speak for others, but all our input is stored here:
and the linked files above. For me; they're an inferior idea, technology.
Bob Fenner>

Hi Ultramarine,
I was wondering what your opinion was on wave generators? I would quite like to buy a tunze wavebox but they are expensive so I didn't want to spend all that money if the benefits are not noticeable. Or if there were any other alternatives that you think might be better I would love to hear them.
 My tank is 120 Gallons and I currently use 4 2400lph power-heads for water movement.
Kind Regards
Mark Jackson 

'Gosh, I remember decades back in my youth when we had to move water with our hands and soda straws!' Well, things weren't quite that dismal, but circulation in our marine systems really has come a long way; and wave generators of various makes and models can be very useful indeed. If one accepts the premise that there is periodicity in the flow of water on natural reefs, and that this situation should be replicated in our captive systems'¦ what better way then with the use of such tools?
            Now, I do want to say that I am indeed an old timer'¦ as an aquarist, as well as a content provider (writer, photographer) in this field, as well as dive/adventure travel'¦ and that I've had thousands of occasions, dives on reefs about the world'¦ where there was tremendous to piddling water movement'¦ and further, that the currents from tides and wave motion were not always multidirectional, and never consistent. This being stated, the usual statements concerning water movement DO apply: That there should definitely be a good deal of circulation, that it should be 'complete' (disallowing stagnant areas), that it should NOT be laminar'¦ that is blasting at one level, such that it might tear off any life in its path'¦ Water movement should be vigorous if nothing else'¦ so where do wave generators come into play here? Are they always of benefit? Not in my opinion.
            Consider that an argument could be made that by switching water on off by way of electronic wave/pump controllers that one is actually going to be moving less total water per given time'¦ and at more cost'¦ electrically, and in terms of pump mechanism wear'¦ Are there situations where it's better to simply arrange ones pump and filter returns, powerheads, submersible pumps'¦ as fixed or rotating entities and leave them turned on? I do think so'¦ and have a chance to chat this over with an upcoming guru in the field, particularly on marine circulation matters, Jake Adams (of Colorado in the States).
            All else being equal, which is rarely the case, it is better, particularly in systems of size to set ones circulation up without controllers (e.g. wave generators) and leave them be. It's nice to have all the gear and technology available, but IMO it is far better to invest ones time in an ozone generator, a desiccator for same, books and magazines, and just ones time in enjoying their system, than getting involved with this gadgetry. Much of it is reliable and I'll add, really neat'¦ but it isn't necessary or even useful in the vast majority of settings.
My opinion, Bob Fenner

SCWD in a box; SW circ. design     3/8/14
Hello crew.
<Howsit Stephen?>
I'm currently plumbing my 55 gallon Tenecor, starting out as a sparsely populated fish/live rock system (maybe one goby/pistol shrimp team and one or two clown gobies) with the ultimate goal being to add a centerpiece bubble tip anemone and then a pair cinnamon clowns.
I've fabricated a sump/refugium setup in the stand with a running volume of about 17 gallons and a total capacity of about 25 gallons in the event of a pump failure. The sump is fed by a 24" x 6" trapezoidal rear overflow to three 1.5" Durso standpipes. The drain system is plumbed and ready to go.
I'm now working on the return and circulation systems. My original plan was to have the return be a Mag 12 or bigger pump feeding up to a loop around the top of the tank.
As I read more on the site I feel like this might create two problems.
First, the flow through the sump/refugium seems to be too rapid, pushing at least 900 gallons per hour through the sump at a 3 1/2 foot head height.
Second, in the event of a pump failure, this setup leaves me with no circulation in the display tank and no water moving past the sump mounted heaters until the problem is discovered
<Agree with these points>
I have a two part plan that might fix these problems. First, switch the return pump to a Mag 9.5, reducing the flow through the sump to closer to 700 gallons per hour. Incidentally, I think this flow rate would allow me to drop down to two 1.5" drains and still have drain redundancy. Is that correct?
<Yes; unless one were to become occluded... perhaps by an errant anemone>

Second, I have hatched a possibly silly scheme to turn the overflow box into a mini sump. If I can fit them in, do you see a downside to putting a
100W heater and a Mag 7 feeding a SCWD in the overflow box?
<Mmm; I wouldn't do this... too much likelihood of issues should water flow fail, or or or... Instead I'd employ hidden submersible heaters (two) in the tank itself; and some small internal pump/s. There are a few choices re the last>
 The Mag 7 to SCWD would feed out of the box through two bulkheads/manifolds on opposite ends of the tank. This would seem to increase my total circulation while adding some wave-like motion, slowing the flow through the sump, and adding some redundancy all at once. I guess my worry is that cramming too many things into the overflow box will somehow impede the flow through the box.
Thanks in advance for the help,
<Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: shifting sand!    7/2/13
Thank you for the link Bob,..I learned a lot!
<Ah, welcome Pam>
Re: shifting sand!    7/2/13

The learning "curve" continues.
Last night, after reading the link
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2007/1/aafeature , I reconfigured my powerheads.
Maybe they're too powerful? Or maybe I just need to tweak until (my desired effect!
Attached is a good illustration of the gyre affect on my "shifting sands "Maybe I should take out the Koralia power head?
I guess patience is key here (like I hear all the time!) to find what works best.
Thank for listening Bob!
<I actually like the effect of the "dunes" here... and unless it's bugging your livestock, would leave all as it is. BobF>

Appropriate Pump size, reading/using WWM    9/3/12
Hi sir,
i have a question on the return pump size for my 4 ft x 2ft x 2.5 ft tank
       Volume  Tank spec 48"x 24"x 36" Litres 679.6    US. gallon 179.53 UK. gallon 149.49            Sump 36"x 18"x 12" Litres 127.43    US. gallon 33.66    UK. gallon 28.03
I have about 80 kg of live rock in the main tank.
What is the idea pump size ( flow rate per hr).
if my pump pipe is around 1.8m up to the main tank.
<Mmm, depends on what you want to do... Better to supply actual circulation alone in the tank itself... w/ internal pumps, power heads...>
To be more specific, is it more ideal to reach 10 X the main tank volume or the more turnover the better?
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm
scroll down to Circulation, Pumps.... and read>
Do we calculate the total volume including the sump?
Currently i am using a 5000 l/hr pump. do you think is sufficient?
<... read>
was thinking about reef octopus HY5000 or the waveline DC 5000 or 10000 hear from you and thank you.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Sugar Fine Sand Blowing Everywhere/Water Flow 11/16/10
Greetings WWM crew and once again thanks for listening.
<Hello Karl>
I have created a somewhat "unique" situation and would really appreciate some advice. I have been cycling a Red Sea Max 250L (66G) with the requisite amount of live rock for 4 weeks now, all going well. I had planned to go with a shallow sand bed and had purchased some sugar fine sand for this purpose. In my research I had come across a couple of recommendations to delay adding the sand, this would avoid
discoloration of the sand due to algal blooms during cycling.
<I would have added the sand and minimized the photoperiod during cycling.
Was the live rock cured?>
So I did not add the sand until this past weekend, enough to provide a depth of 1.5- 2.0". As you
can well imagine the sand really clouded up the tank and the fine partculates has covered the rock, etc., etc.
<Did you wash/clean the sand before placing?>
This in itself is not that much of an issue as it will clear with time, the larger problem is that the stronger powerhead
<What is the gph of this "stronger powerhead"?>
in this tank is blowing this fine sand around to the point that on the left-hand side of the tank the bottom stays bare, and the fine sand will not stay in position at all in many areas. So what to do now? It is clear that I would need a substrate with larger particle size to avoid it being "pushed" around so much.
I was thinking of removing 50% of the sugar-fine sand and adding some coarser material.......does that sound right and what would you recommend adding?
<Would have helped to know your total flow rate, but I'd try directing the power head slightly
toward the surface and see if that doesn't calm things down. This is a common problem using standard
laminar flow power heads where the flow is one directional. A better way to go would be with a
random flow or propeller type powerhead where the water is discharged at a much higher angle, both horizontal and vertical and offers infinite adjustment of the return. The Tunze Nano Stream 6015 would be a good choice for your system. Take a look here.
Another option would be to install a mini ball valve on your present power head similar to the one shown here.
This will allow you to adjust the flow to a point where sand isn't being kicked up.>
Also do you think I should be switching my plan to a deep sand bed after all?
<Is up to you, but deep sand beds will require plenty of micro fauna to
keep it clean.
Have a read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm>
I thought I would go with a shallow bed for cosmetic purposes and siphon/clean it regularly but now I am questioning my whole plan, your thoughts there would be appreciated.
<I'd keep what you have, much easier to maintain, but that's just my opinion.>
Also do you think this whole episode with the sandstorm will mess up the cycling ?
I am not new to this hobby and thought I had pretty much come across most problems until I created yet another one --- should have known better. Thanks for your help as always it is very much appreciated.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Gyres, Bulkheads and Flow Rates/Marine Set-Up/Marine Plumbing 8/28/10
Hi Guys,
<Hello David>
It is some time since I have been here having set up a 50g five years ago.
We are now in the process of building a new house and I have the opportunity to build a 5ft x 2ft x 2ft in wall tank. Ideally I would like to design a tank that did not require any internal powerheads or pipework.
<Sounds nice.>
I have been researching the build on WWM and elsewhere and have come upon the idea of gyre flow. However there is a limited amount of information out there and wonder what your feelings are on this?
I am considering using a vertical gyre with a "spine" arrangement of live rock down the midline of the tank. An inlet would be positioned around 12" high and 4" in from the front and back on each end corner of the tank allowing alternation of the gyre direction. Is one inlet per "corner" sufficient?
<Yes, more to follow below.>
My specific questions relate to flow rate, overflow design and outlet bulkhead sizing. Various calculators and sites provide different estimates and figures, theoretical or practical, I don't know.
While the viewable tank length will be 5 ft I can extend it by up to 6" at one end and use the entire width of the tank, 24", as the weir, or up to 4" at both ends and have two 24" weirs and overflow boxes.
The volume of the tank is nominally 150 US gallons.
For my sump, to achieve a turnover of 3x-5x,or 450-750gph what size and how many bulkheads should I use?
<For reef systems, the recommended flow rate should be at least 10X the tank volume and I would size the pump for at least 20-30% more than anticipated to allow for any head loss. If the sump and pump are to be located in the basement, I'd size even higher and use a pressure type pump rather than a circulation type pump. Ball/gate valves can be used to
control the flow rate on each return. I would have the tank constructed with built-in overflows at each rear corner of the tank using 1 1/2" drains, one per overflow box. A 3/4" return line in each corner will provide the necessary flow rate and most tank manufacturers will incorporate the return line inside the overflow box. Seeing as how you want no internal plumbing, I would suggest the use of a rotating return device such as Sea Swirls. Take a look here.
http://premiumaquatics.com/store/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=PA&Category_Code=&Product_Code=SEASWIRL The use of a device like this will
provide flow to all areas of the tank.>
I have been looking at the Calfo overflow setup, any thoughts?
<If it were mine, I'd go with the corner overflows.>
Does the use of a comb significantly reduce the flow rate over the weir?
<No, as long as the total square inch area of the gates in the weir are greater than the inside area of a 1 1/2" PVC pipe.>
I know I should have a turnover rate of 10x+ through each pair of inlets on the closed loop but what flow rate should I aim for at each inlet? i.e. should I balance the flow between them or set one high and the other as a booster to maintain the gyre?
<I'd shoot for equal flow from each return.>
Could I place the outlets for the closed loop in an overflow box? Will I get enough water over the weir fast enough to feed the outlets?
<A closed loop system shouldn't be necessary with rotating return devices and offers a little more peace of mind eliminating possible sources of leaks.>
Should I just use bulkhead sizes to match the inlet size of the pump to be used?
<No, as mentioned above.>
If not the above can you advise?
I apologise for the number of questions. I have researched but the more I look the less consistent the information and would appreciate you input.
<No problem on the questions, is what we are here for.>
Many thanks,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Gyres, Bulkheads and Flow Rates/Marine Set-Up/Marine Plumbing 8/28/10 - 8/29/10
Hi James,
Thanks for the swift reply and the sound advice.
<You're welcome.>
Could you address the use of gyres in a reef tank, whether it is a useful approach and the best way to implement it. I have seen Bob advise it in a few posts but there is little information out there describing its practical application in a tank.
<I have no experience whatsoever with gyres so I cannot comment. There is some information on it in this article, scroll down a bit.
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Flow Rate Question 5/30/10 - 6/1/10
Sorry, I didn't think to include the drain size.
<Not a problem.>
The aquarium I am looking at comes with a 2 1/2" drain, but I have not ordered the tank yet, so I have options to have more drain holes, bigger drain holes, etc. I was contemplating going with 2 corner drains, either capable of all flow in case of a blockage, any input on this subject would be welcome as well.
<A very good idea having two drains for just the reason you mention. I would suggest two corner overflows with 1 1/2" drains. Each drain would be capable of about 975gph not including restrictions such as elbows, strainers, etc. I'll now go down below to your original query to answer your concerns.>
Flow Rate Question 5/30/10
Dear team,
<Hello Lang>
I once again seek your expertise, thank you for all you have done.
<You're welcome.>
I read through WWM almost daily, tons of great info!
<Thank you.>
I have looked into the SeaSwirl units I have seen recommended a couple of different times by your team, and I have to say, looks good, I'm going to be getting 2 for my upcoming 90.
<They are a good dependable device.>
My question is on overall flow of the aquarium. I currently have a Mag 9.5 for a return pump in my 75g, and I have a Koralie <Koralia> 3, and a 4 providing additional circulation in the DT. I want the 2 SeaSwirl units to replace the power heads in my DT, but  am concerned about the amount of flow I will be getting. I calculated the new plumbing using the Mag 9.5, and I will be getting approximately 568 gph at 7.8 ft of head, so split in 2 that comes to 284 gph for each SeaSwirl.
<The Sea Swirls will also create some head loss so do allow for that.>
I've seen comments related, that state 10X-20X for a reef tank is ideal.
I was thinking of a couple options, was hoping for an opinion of the best course.
1. Upgrade to a Mag 18, which will give me 950gph.
<This won't do it with the head loss from the tee, two ball valves, and associated plumbing. It will be
difficult to provide equal flow to the Sea Swirls without using a ball valve to regulate/balance flow.>
2. Add a 2nd Mag 9.5 as just a return to the DT.
<My choice would be adding another Mag 9.5 and power the Sea Swirls with individual pumps and
eliminate the tee which adds additional head loss. This set up allows you to shut down a pump for maintenance
and still keep the system running. Should you go this route, do order the 3/4" model Sea Swirls which are rated for
850gph. Do incorporate true union ball valves on both sides of the pumps to facilitate maintenance. See here if
you are not familiar with this device.
uct_Code=BV05T-TU&Category_Code=Valves >
3. Scratch the 'no powerhead' idea and use the SeaSwirl in addition to the current powerheads I have.
<Two Mag 9.5's driving two Sea Swirls should provide you with a very good flow rate for your 90 gallon tank without the use of any powerheads.>
4. Mix and match of these options, maybe option 1, with a second Mag 9.5 providing straight return to the DT.
<Lang, before I can input, I would like to know the size of your drain(s).>
Thanks for any help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Flow Issues and a few others (modified) 3/2/10
Hello Mr. Fenner,
(If in fact I've linked to you J )
<Ah yes>
Firstly, I have heard praise re your book: The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, and was wondering if you could supply me with the ISBN# in order to more easily find it please? (or'¦. If there is a more 'direct' way I could acquire one -- say with a blessing for success signed in the front'¦.) gee, was that a little over the top?
<Here: ISBN-13: 978-1890087999 or on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Conscientious-Marine-Aquarist-Commonsense-Professional/dp/1890087998/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267488161&sr=8-14>
I have been attempting to digest the information on WWM -- a fantastic wealth of information and people by the way -- and other avenues, and am finding that I only achieve a rather good impression of a professional head-scratcher as a result. I am planning towards a 4ft x 2ft x 2ft 120gal. reef setup, ( an upgrade from a 55gal.) and am having difficulty understanding the plumbing/flow setup. I plan to have the tank as a divider between two rooms, (3 sides visible), refugium underneath (40gal hopefully or better if room permits).
My goal is to get away from mix-n-match reef stock to sps, so I realize high flow is in order. But there appears to be many different opinions as to what those numbers are. (Is there a 'Coles Notes -- Saltwater for dummies' book?)
<Not as far as I'm aware for the former, and the latter is a poor work in my estimation>
The people I have spoken to at the LFS have all said that the tank is to be drilled at both ends. Is it not possible to drill and sump/return centered at the one end?
<It is>
If so, how does one plan towards pump size vs. flow(s).
<Ahh, posted on WWM...>
With the variety and opinions abounding it appears very confusing to actually find a path to follow.
<... taken a bit, steps at a time...>
The only thing I am certain of is I have no reservations regarding the use of power heads to assist flow. Presently my 55 uses Koralias as primary for circulation. If you know of a tried-and-true design, I would be greatly interested. At the very least, I could seriously use a pointer towards a "step #1" you could say. I do not want to fall into the horse before the cart trap, as it would not be fair to my future inhabitants.
Towards the idea of a closed flow system, am I understanding correctly that this circuit would be completely separate from the filtration system?
<Is generally... but I encourage you to just use internal pumps here>
If so, does it feed from the refugium, or a separate pump housed in the show tank itself?
I realize this leaves a rather vague avenue to reply to, but I request you patience'¦ if I knew more, I could formulate better Q's to ask -- sorry.
<Take your time Richard>
Oh, a final boon to request -- could you help with the identity of an unknown please (photo attached)?
<I see this in your accompanying msg.. Is a Zoanthid polyp. See WWM re>
I have tried to describe them to the LFS and receive the word Aiptasia as a result, but they do not match any pic I have been able to view throughout my search of the web. They have been resident in the tank, same spot right below the filter, for about 7 or 8 months. They started as a speck, and have held at just under a cm across for almost half that time now, and recently I have noticed another speck starting at the base of the larger specimen. They react to feeding just as a Palythoa would as far as speed of closing goes. I'm rather hopeful it's a type of Protopalythoa... but that's just desperation talking.
On a final - and slightly askew - note: I have read more then one posting reply from someone who reacts disfavour ably to the "collective" style of the Crew's responses, and must throw my two bits into the fray. If these individuals can not deal with real life replies from other individuals... why do they bother?
And more importantly - How on earth do they navigate the real world?
<Heeee! One of my fave responses is to tell westerners that should they get to St. Peter's gate, that their responses will not be a matter of choosing multiple-choice>
Good thing reef inhabitants can't communicate in English, or the tanks would suffer b/c their owners would be in therapy 24/7!! Please keep doin-what-yer-doin!
<Are endeavouring...>
Once again I thank you and the crew at WWM for your time, your dedication, and for helping me stay with the hobby -- and helping my sanity/salinity stay with me!
Richard J.C.
<Cheers, BobF>

Water flow question, SW, reading   8/29/2009
I just got a 120 gallon tank 24x48 and have it filled with base rock 100lbs and about 65lbs of live rock still waiting to get more live rock. tank has cycled added pair ocellaris clowns today
<... Mmm, need to have the rock, system cycled ahead of adding fishes>
and they seem to not like all the water movement are just staying in the back of the tank between the
overflows where less movement is.
<Not atypical Clown beh.>
i have a 1200 trickle filter and (2)#3 Koralia powerheads and a #4 Koralia powerheads. i would like to eventually keep some soft corals, is this to
much movement? am i turning the tank over to much? should i lessen the current? please help
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Filtration... circ. reading -- 08/14/09
I currently have a canister filter and a 12 inch bubble wall in my 38 gallon salt aquarium. would you recommend a power head?
<... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm
and the linked files above. BobF>

Planning Flow Rates 11/10/08 I'm in the process of designing my first tank. Ambitiously my wife and I have decided to put a 230 gallon 72 x 30 x 30 reef tank as a built in room divider. <Nice.> I want a clean look as the tank will be visible along the two long edges. On top of that the design of the wall that the tank will be built into gives little or no room at either end of the tank for plumbing or hangovers. My initial design thoughts for the aquascaping are to build a central island of rock with a cut through the center. I would like to have a distribution of flow rates across and around the reef to encourage coral growth of different types. I've been researching tanks and plumbing and believe I have a workable plan but wanted to run it by some experts first. <Okay.> The research reveals that I should be aiming for a flow rate of 10x to 20x my display tank volume. In this case 2300 to 4600gph split between the sump overflow/return system and a closed loop system. <Sounds fine.> My intention is to have the tank installed with overflows at each end with each overflow having around 18" linear space, allowing each overflow to handle approx 1200gph. I intend to have the tank drilled for 2" bulkheads in each overflow and fitted with durso pipes to provide a gravity feed to a basement sump/refugium. <Although a 2 can handle 1200gph, if you do plan on running each drain at this capacity, do consider adding another drain or two for redundancy in case one fails/plugs.> One of these overflows will feed the sump directly, the other will be fitted with a ball valve to allow me to redirect some of the flow between the refugium section and the sump. Both the sump and refugium will flow into a return section that will feed an external pump, which will return the water to the display via a return manifold. This return manifold will fit around the top of the tank, hidden by the rim, and provide 6-8 ½" effluents directed mainly at the top part of the rock/across the surface of the tank. The aim here is to provide around 2400gph flow total through the manifold. The flow through the separate parts of the sump/refugium is planned to be around 1600gph through the sump and 800gph through the refugium. Are these rates reasonable? <Yes, quite so.> The closed loop system I have in mind will consist of two drains hidden by the two areas of rock. Basically the drain will be under the rock, about 5" above the substrate. My intention is to have the bottom of the tank drilled and 2" bulkheads put in, then insert a standpipe and mount a drain cover on it to raise it high enough above the substrate. Finally I would box the pipes in with eggcrate and aquascape the rock on top and around the eggcrate. Does this make sense and seem reasonable? <Yes, sounds fine.> This system would feed a pump directly under the display tank which would pump the water straight back to the display tank to 4 return pipes drilled into the corners of the tank and pointed at the lower parts of the rock, thus providing flow around the rock and at a lower level to the manifold. My thought is that flow through the closed loop system should also be around 2400gph. Does this seem like a reasonable system? <It does.> Should I have a higher flow at the top of the tank with less through the closed loop system? Would the closed loop system be better controlling the top manifold? <Your plan will work out fine, do make the outputs adjustable with Locline or even just a PVC elbow on the end you can swivel.> Thanks, Richard <Welcome, the makings of a nice system. Scott V.>

Circulation, SW...     6/22/08 Hi crew, I really appreciate all the information you have made available. It has certainly helped me. I have a 55 gal FWLR setup with a 15 gal sump that I converted to a refugium that has been operating for one year. Ammonia, nitrites, phosphates have been 0, nitrates are less than 5, dKH is about 9 and calcium is 360. I am ready to move up to a 90 gal tank with a 30 gal sump, but would like to avoid a couple of problems with my current set-up. Currently I have an Eheim 1260 (635 gph, 1" intake, 5/8" discharge) main pump and two powerheads (400 gph) for circulation, which I figure is about 26x tank volume. I frequently have minor diatom blooms (easily cleaned once a week) and a lot of debris stirred up during cleaning. My LPS <LFS> figures I do not have enough circulation and reading your website seems to confirm it. I am confused because it would seem that I have plenty of circulation. <For?> I want to make sure the new 90 gal tank has plenty of circulation. The overflow box on the 90 gal has three lines. I plan to direct two lines to the sump that came with the tank. A no-name pump (I don't think it is an aquarium pump because it has steel screws which the previous owner siliconed over) does not have any ratings, but I suspect it will do at least 500 gph ((2) 1" intakes, 3/4" discharge) <Mmm... the intakes may be insufficient here... esp. if one gets blocked> based on the electrical ratings. I plan to replace this pump shortly. On the third line, I plan to direct to a 15 gal sump that I will use for my refugium and use the Eheim 1260 (1" intake, 3/4" discharge) to pump back to the tank. In addition, I plan to put two powerheads in the tank, so my circulation should be about 20x tank volume. I am afraid based on my current tank that this may not be enough. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts. Thanks, Cedric! <Should be sufficient circulation for most purposes, if directed properly. I do have a concern re the diameter of the drain lines. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm the third tray down. Bob Fenner>

Tank circulation -Marine Tank Set-Up, water flow, filtration'¦ 05/19/08 I have graduated from a 30 gal to a 125'¦yes big step'¦ <<Yes, and a much more stable environment for a rookie than the 30 gallon.>> on the 125 I have two emperor 400 and a Coralife 125 skimmer..what I need to know is what to do about water flow'¦ <<Before we talk about waterflow, lets talk about your filtration, honestly you're getting off to the wrong start in my opinion. These HOTB filters really aren't the right approach to dealing with chemical or physical filtration in a marine tank. The only good they will do is cause a little turbulence in the water (and at that not enough for a marine tank). The bio-media (biowheel) will not be nearly as efficient when it comes to building up nitrobacter/nitrosomas/ect. to deal with dissolved organics as a plentiful amount of live rock would, even better would be a macroalgae refugium. I would look into an overflow system with a sump where you can hide your skimmer, heater, return pumps, protein skimmer and other equipment. You could also have a refugium included in the sump as well. If you are fearful of the overflow system at least consider a more efficient hang on system, like the ecosystem or CPR brands. As far as your skimmer, I would personally like to see a slightly larger one (of course that depends on the intended livestock as well which you did not mention).>> I hear a lot about the koralia pumps..do u recommend these and how many of which kind do I need? <<Well to be honest, while powerheads can be easy to install, they are, in my opinion detracting to the overall look of they tank. Not to mention all of the average ones eventually fail. There are unforeseen issues like'¦well taking a small fish or anemone up it's intake, among others'¦I've seen that more times than I care to. Consider a closed loop system instead; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm . If you MUST go with powerhead I have heard good things about the Koralia pumps but I have no personal experience. Tunze is still my first choice, as it is in my experience the most reliable still, two moderate sized ones on opposite sides would be efficient. How many and how much depends on what you intend to keep.>> I know there's numbers 1 2 3 4.....what is the placement of these pumps in this tank..its 72 in long 18 in deep and about 20 high.. <<Opposite each other, pointed towards each other, the corners at the tank, the return pump'¦.anything to keep the water turbulent and detritus from settling.>>

re: tank circulation 5/19/08 RE: Waterflow, filtration, set-up'¦.and more'¦much more'¦.. <<Kann jemand so naiv sein oder sind Sie respektlos? Beides waere ein schlechtes zeichen...to put it more nicely did you not get the subtle/passive aggressive hints I dropped in our last session. With the grammar and spelling? WWM is free, all of the crew participates for free. All that we ask is that emails sent to us use proper grammar and correct spelling so that we may save time and help others, instead of correcting this for sharing the dailies. I respectfully ask that you comply in the future.>> Well thanks for the info'¦ <<You're welcome, it's what I'm here for.>> It's virtually impossible for me to go the route you suggested.. <<It's not impossible by any stretch, now if you're unwilling to do it, investing more time and perhaps worse more money then that's another story, but please don't suggest to others that this is an impossible goal. In fact it's one of the most common and efficient set ups around.>> I have already bought the filters and skimmer and lights new so I can't very well shuck all that and besides I know nothing of under tank doings... <<None of us did when we first started out, even Bob started from scratch at some point, it's called research, which you should do plenty of before diving head first into any endeavor in life, especially those that involve living organisms (which is why I won't have children, hehe).>> Now the hang on filters have the double bio wheels in each one plus places for at least four filters in each'¦I know beautiful tanks that have these.. <<First off, if you are content and 'know' that what you have will work why are you seeking our advice or stamp of approval, obviously something has made you insecure enough in your set up to reach out? Second, and respectfully, I don't care if the entire rear frame of your marine tank is lined with HOTB emperor filters, they are canister filters are still probably the poorest way to achieve chemical and mechanical filtration in a marine tank. I outlined this last time, so I won't be repeating myself. If you doubt me, which is not necessarily a bad thing, please continue to read and research.>> and this 125 skimmer is big my water is clear'¦ <<I'm familiar with the skimmer brand I just stated it was not my first choice, and that I would have gone larger as most manufacturers fib a little bit about the volume their products can handle. Sure in an optimal environment with proper and regular care, stocked low, it will work out'¦'¦but how many aquarists have a tank like that? Not many. As far as your water being clear, this has nothing to do with it possible having toxic levels of certain chemicals, the 'look of water' is not a scientific approach I would recommend to testing your water.>> all is fine.. <<Define fine? In the future please post specific readings/levels, as we may see an issue where the average aquarist may see none.>> I'm just dealing with some nitrates from doing the move... <<How much is some?>> I haven/t heard good things about Tunze..they rust out or some other thing like that... <<Mmm'¦I really am not attempting be harsh here, perhaps slightly, but 'some other things like that'¦.' is hardly a logical nor scientific argument. Compared to most brands of powerheads, the line of Tunze streams is perhaps the most reliable and efficient and longest lasting. See here; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i1/Powerhead_test/powerhead_comp.htm Do they fail? Of course, they do, a percentage of all power heads do'¦Tunze' just fail at a much lower rate As far as rust, I have heard a VERY minute number of complaints regarding rust on the newer Tunze nano-streams, and I have never hears this complaint re: the stand Tunze Streams. The issue stems from likely a bad batch of stainless steel shafts on the propeller assembly, I still prefer it over the ceramic based shafts or oil lubricated engines that other brands often use. I find it interesting that you took the time to research and attempt to refute my suggestions'¦.questioning them is one thing but this is something else I surmise, I implore to seek guidance from our FAQ's, articles and all other media you can get a hold of. I still feel the need to point out that I am giving virtually blind advice, you have failed to mention the intended livestock (will there be invertebrates in this system?) , the amount of live rock if any, and the type/amount of substrate'¦.>> My deal rite now is finding a method of more circulation...thanks <<I have already outlined my advice regarding that issue, it stands as is. Good luck and keep reading; - Adam J.>>

Circulation/water flow 03/30/2008 Hey guys, <<Good afternoon, Andrew today>> Hey guy, my name is Josh (I think Bob will remember me :) and I am currently running a 20 gal reef tank that is in desperate need of upgrading. Recently a friend offered to sell me his 80 gal tank for around $200 and I am really excited and have decided to go for a DSB and plan this out right instead of throwing it together and having to do constant damage control for the next few years. If I have learned anything thanks to you guys its PLAN PLAN PLAN! So, I will be setting this tank up and eventually converting my 20 gal tank into a refugium, but I have been looking at circulation ideas. While I was interning at the public aquarium, I noticed they had rotating flow heads in the tank that rotated the incoming water 360 degrees...resembled a cone with slits that made it turn. I haven't been able to find them and I thought you might know what they are called and where I could buy them. I haven't seen them in any LFS. Would this cause a good random current? <<They are not a bad idea, along with wave makers in general. Some equipment which public aquariums use are specifically built, or the price to have these in the home aquaria make some not possible. Marinedepot.com does a range of Wavemaking devices / accessories which you can find here.. http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_AquariumPage~PageAlias~wavemakers__index.html and http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_AquariumPage~PageAlias~powerheads_pumps__index.html>> Seems like it would. Thanks! Also, someone motioned how good horseshoe crabs are at stirring the substrate, but don't they grow really big? If I got a few 3 inchers would they quickly outgrow my tank? <<Limulus polyphemus are not the best thing to house in our home aquarium. One of the Sp. of crab which is best out in the ocean, in its own habitat>> I appreciate all the help! Josh <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Flow question 11/22/07 I have a 65 gallon reef system. The dimensions are 36"x18"x24". <I love that size tank.> I currently have 2 MaxiJet 1200's and a MaxiJet 600 on the NaturalWave wavemaker (looks like a powerstrip). My corals are happy. I have LPS, Zoas, clams, and some SPS. I was wondering, what is your opinion on getting a Tunze Wavebox for this tank. My only concerns would be too much flow for the tank. I don't mind that I would see it in the tank because of a big opening on the right side, in front of the overflow. One more question, would I have to modify my overflow box if I do go with this option? <The Tunze Wavebox is a nice piece. Tunze does recommend 19' clearance between the outlet and rock/corals. Also, the overflow box will drain in waves as your water level goes up and down. The closer to the center of the tank the less it will vary. The box can be used on your tank, but I would simply look into a closed loop or the Maxi-Jet propeller type modifications if you feel you need more flow. If your corals are happy and doing well then you may just want to leave the flow alone. I hope this helps you decide, happy reefing, Scott V.>

Forced tank upgrade -- coral placement questions -11/20/07 Hi, crew. I have learned so much from you guys over the years! My marine critters (and there are many!) appreciate the guidance you've given me. Please bear with me while I explain the current situation. My wife and I had three marine tanks -- a 46 gallon bowfront glass tank that was a soft- and LPS-coral reef setup, a 120 gallon FOWLR, and a 30 gallon peacock mantis specimen tank. The 46 decided to bust a seam and we came home to a big puddle. Luckily we only lost something like 5-8 gallons (caught it early!). <lucky!> The cause was probably swelling of the MDF base caused by minor spills over the years, which put torque on the glass. <...or maybe the tank wasn't perfectly level. I learned that the hard way! lol> Anyways, after some frantic effort, we got the fish, corals and rock out, and got the spill cleaned up. After considering our options we decided to move most of the inhabitants to the 120 and upgrade it to a "reef-capable" system. The 120 is a nice system (2 x 2 x 4 feet) with sufficient LR, a six-inch sand bed with a plenum, an over-sized Euro-Reef skimmer, and approximately 1000 gal/hr flow through the overflow/sump. Water parameters have always been very stable. Two main upgrades were needed -- lighting and flow. The 120 had 4x65W PC lighting (2x10K, 2xActinic). We upgraded to a Tek 8x54W HO T5 fixture (4 "daylight" (6.5K), 4 "aqua blue" (~14K)) and a big canopy fan. For flow we added an EcoTech Marine Vor-Tech propeller pump. This is a fantastic unit that moves lots of water. The flow is variable (it's got different programs that pulse the pump in patterns) but not quite "turbulent" since we only have one pump (can't afford a second one right now). <You should be able to make it turbulent if you point it at something.> So, we're dealing with mostly diffuse laminar flow of variable intensity (think "Cozumel"). The pump is aimed down the long axis of the aquarium so there are regions of high (near the pump), low (on the other end), and medium (everywhere else) flow. Now to the questions. We have the following corals in the tank, mostly all from small frags accumulated over the years: LPS: - Green frogspawn - Green galaxy Softies: - Xenia (several colonies of various species) - Mushrooms (orange, green, striped, purple) - Green star polyps - Various Zoanthid species (colored buttons, "people eaters", yellow polyps) 1) None of these seem very happy in the "highest" current areas (right on the rock surface along the center of the tank). The only possible exception is the star polyps which don't seem to mind it too much. Does this sound about right? Can the xenia, for instance, tolerate higher current? <Star polyps don't care much about anything (in my experience). They'll grow just about anywhere in a healthy tank. Just about all corals can tolerate (or even appreciate) high water flow. If you've ever been diving on a real reef, you can appreciate this. However, the corals may take some time to adapt to it, or may simply just not extend as much for awhile.> 2) The frogspawn is currently in a medium-current, medium- to high- light area. It is extended but not as much as it was in the other tank. Should I move it? <Let it stay where it is for awhile and see if it doesn't adapt.> 3) Some of the mushrooms have their edges curled up. I suspect the current is too strong for these, but it might be some light shock. Do you suspect one more than the other? <It's probably the water flow. Mushrooms/Ricordea are some of the few corals that prefer low water flow. So I'd move these. If you don't, they'll probably detach and find a better spot on their own.> Getting all of these corals "happy" in their new home has been a challenge. <It usually is for "mixed reef" tanks.> Oh, by the way, the 46 gallon tank had 4x39W HO T5 lighting, so the lighting intensity should be about the same. Many thanks, Dan <De nada, Sara M.>

250 Gallon Flow 10/22/07 Hi Crew, I am still in the process of setting up my 250G. The tank is 72x30x25. I wanted it to be wide so fish can swim both sides of the rockwork. Along with the sump return I am setting up a closed loop with 2 x 1.5" feeds located on each side of the tank about 2" from the bottom of the tank. I was thinking about putting suction strainers (such as the ones here: http://www.lagunakoi.com/prod202.html) on each one and building a "cage like" that in the October "Tank of the month" and building the rockwork around it. Seemed like a good idea. Now I am concerned that I will be getting too much flow around the bottom of the tank and stirring up the sand too much. I'm planning on around a 2" sand bed and then having the intake about 2"above the sand. The closed loop will be driven by a Sequence Dart pump. Also, only one side will be operating at a time. Each side consisting of a 1.5" feed and 3 X ¾" (or 1" ?) returns. The system will be set up so that when the left intake is open, it will output on the right side, and when the right intake is open it will output on the left side. Onto my questions; do you think that the 1½ " feed will starve the dart too much? <Sequence recommends that the intake line be as large or larger than the output line. That being said, many people plumb Darts with 1 ½ " intakes with no issues. Just be aware that there will be some diminished flow doing so. > Will there be too much suction in the lower portion of the tank (stirring up the sand)? <The suction at 2" above the sand is cutting it very close, especially when you consider that the suction in the line is not the only thing that can kick sand into the intake. Certain fish love to blow sand around. Reef pumps inevitably process some sand, but I would try to minimize it and put the intakes higher in the tank. You could even possibly angle the intakes up with elbows considering you plan to hide them with rockwork. This would give you some adjustability in the setup. > Will the 3 X ¾" returns generate enough flow? <I would probably make that 4 X ¾" or 3 X 1", 3 X ¾" would be awful brisk flow. As for overall tank turnover, without factoring in your sump return, this leaves you in the ballpark of 11-13 times turnover (accounting for intake size, plus there will be some friction loss), not much for SPS corals. It depends on what you want to keep in the tank and the flow of your sump return. > Grateful as always for your input. Olly <Nice tank, have fun, Scott>

New Tank Question: DSB and Water Movement    7/30/07 Hi James, How is everything? Hope everything is well. <Hi Jon, everything fine here.> Before anything else, I am happy to tell you about the Fromia millepora (red sea star) that I have inquired about. I was so happy when I finally moved him from my quarantine tank to the display tank. He immediately went around and took some algae I left for him in the front of the glass. He's been all over the tank already and for two days now seems doing just fine. I love him and did add diversity in the tank. <Good to hear.> James, you have seen pictures of my tank and it is indeed very healthy as you have mentioned. I probably have over 50 baby snails by now crawling about the tank thanks the initial 10 Cerith snails that kept laying eggs. Moreover, just tonight, I believe I saw the eggs of my 2 clown fish. I feel it is their egg as they were protecting it unlike the eggs laid by my Cerith snails that they very much like to nip. Oh boy, it's been truly a wonderful experience for me. Love every minute of it. <Can be a rewarding hobby.> The sponge that has grown at the back of my LR is now protruding upwards and has covered the top of this rock and is exposed to total light. It is quite interesting to note that the color on this one however is orange yellow. At its current growth rate, I may not have room for new corals at all. As you know James, this is my 1st venture in having an aquarium and a SW tank at that. I really could have not done it with your help. <Glad to be of assistance.> Old tank questions (60 gal): 1st. I have been setting my eye on some Holothuria cucumbers (particularly the tiger tail). I prefer them over the sand sifting star (which I read devours everything in the sand). <Anything dead, yes.> The thing is for weeks now, since I last wrote you, I have wanted to add more diversity for my current tank. I am not satisfied yet with the research I have done on it so far. There is simply too much variability for me to make any realistic generalizations about the risk of this specific sea cucumber. The best generalization that I can make is that for most deposit-feeding sand cucumbers the risk of a tank wipe-out is quite low and considering the added benefit plus bio-diversity in my tank, I am beginning to feel it is worth a try. Am I right in thinking this? (My first question). Secondly, if I am to put it 1st in my quarantine tank for 1 month, how am I to feed it? Lastly, how do one properly acclimate this? Is it the same as your advice to me as the red sea star? <Jon, I'd stay away from cukes, they can be more trouble than they are worth. Read here if you haven't already. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seacukes.htm The sand sifting starfish would be a much better choice. Keep in mind, these guys should be fed unless you have a well established sand bed. I feed mine with a syringe (no needle attached). I take the syringe and draw up a few bloodworms and inject them under the starfish. Has been working well so far. They will also eat dried Nori.> 2nd. I know Phosphate less 0.03 concentrations is a good value for reef aquaria. Last week, I purchased a Red Sea P04 test kit and for the 1st time have tested P04 concentration in my tank and found out that I have about 0.1 ppm PO4 level. <More than likely you are just reading the low end of the scale and is not indicative of the actual level. Phosphates are generally absorbed in the system very quickly.> I am not having hair algae nor some red slime outbreak or anything but want to make sure I won't have them at all (I do have some hair algae but is controlled in just one spot and comes and goes). I have a refugium with lots of Chaetomorpha algae that I trim from time to time which I believe helps (thanks to your advice early on). Does putting some ROWAphos or PhosBan in a poly filter bag and hang this by the sump do the trick? Or is it really necessary to get a Phosphate reactor as some other guys in other websites seems to strongly suggest for some fluidize action. I ask because everything seems fine'¦'Now' but I don't know why I keep worrying about something that has not happened yet. Also I feel I don't really want an absolute zero PO4 at all because my current tank seems to be thriving (I have maiden's hair and shaving bush plants in the main display tank and some spaghetti algae in the refugium). <I'd leave well enough alone, but if I decided to use a product, it would be Rowaphos.> New Tank (2009 7'x3.5x2' Upgrade tank) 1st question. Given the size of the tank, if you were me, how big/ proper ratio should the refugium be if I were to use DSB on it? How deep of a DSB would you go? Will you employ the use of a plenum (mix opinion on its usage - quite confusing)? Main tank will have at most 2 inch of live sand. I ask this because I read somewhere here or maybe Mr. Anthony Calfo's book (I can't remember) that a refugium size 20% of the display size is recommended for effective NNR. I also remember reading here a long time ago that a small amount of nitrates is beneficial or even necessary for keeping corals and to target 1-5ppm. <Jon, do search/read on our site on DSB's and refugiums. There is too much info available for me to write here. Yes, small amounts of nitrates are beneficial for plant/algae growth, and clams will also absorb it.> 2nd question. Again if you were me, what system would you use with regards to water circulation and proper water flow if you want to keep mostly SPS with a few LPS and soft corals? This tank is going to be in the center of the room viewable on all sides with pipes running to a room (about 15 feet away, piping under the floor boards) for the stuffs needed to keep the tank thriving. Obviously, the overflow is going to be in the center of the tank which is why I am having quite a fascinating imagination of how I am going to properly move the water. I want to eliminate as much as possible using powerheads attached to the glass. <I'd bulkhead the water coming into the tank and use a couple of the SCWD' (Switching Current Water Director) in the system. Again, this subject should be searched on our web site, too much info requiring too much time to do here. Go here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm One thing to consider in planning is the distance from tank to pump. Every foot of pipe used will lower the pressure/flow rate of the pump and the amount of water that can be returned to the sump. Here is a link to some useful information regarding this. http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/hlc2.php> Lastly your thoughts on the best skimmer out there to blow waste off this upgrade tank. I was thinking of Precision Marine Bullet XL Model 2 protein skimmer. My second choice is a Deltec Protein skimmer but they are just way too expensive for me. <Personally, I like the AquaC's. Virtually hassle free and very efficient.> Thank you so much again James. It has been truly a joy writing you. <Why thank you, Jon, and good luck in your new venture.> Sincerely, Jon G.

Ptilocaulis sp. hlth. and tank setup/circ.    4/24/07 I have two separate questions. First, I have a Ptilocaulis sp. which has been doing well for approximately 7 months.  The sponge was moved from a nano reef to a 75 gallon reef.  Now, after about a month it is beginning to die.  The tips are turning from white to a very dark grey.  I can only attribute this to much slower water movement as the nano tank had close to 30X turnaround rate whereas the 75 gallon is only moving at about 12X.   <Very likely a factor... this genus needs very high water flow... to aid in metabolism, bring foods for filtering...> In an effort to save it, I was thinking about cutting off the dead regions and placing it in the refugium section of my sump. <A good approach>   What chances are there of success and at what point should the sponge be removed to avoid negatively impacting water parameters? <Some chance and not able to tell until you actually observe behavioral changes in your other livestock> My next question was regarding setting up another pump in my tank.  Currently, I have a mag 9.5 driving the filtration and it is the only source of water movement in the tank.  This setup was originally designed to accommodate an aggressive fish only tank but it has turned into a reef after all, and I don't consider the mag 9.5 adequate water flow.  My idea was to run another mag 9.5 outside the tank, drawing water from the surface of the tank and returning it on the opposite side.  This flow of water would oppose the flow of the main filtration.  The return from the sump is forked into two outputs to spread the water flow and I was considering the same on the second mag 9.5 so as to not have excessive water flow in any one area.  My main concern is the overflow rate.  My tank is drilled on the bottom and has an overflow box with a Durso pipe.  How big will the intake pipe need to be to adequately supply the mag 9.5 with water and what impact will that have on the current overflow system? <An inch and a half intake... screened, should do here... I would read re the use of "Closed Loops" on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm scroll down... as well as consider the new Hydor product, Tunze internal pumps here...> Will an equilibrium need to be achieved for both of these pumps to run together or will it 'just work' without much fine tuning? <Circulation, discharges do need to be arranged to optimize flow patterns, not disrupt sessile invertebrates...> I am assuming that since the water is being directly returned to the tank that it should not have any impact on the other overflow, <Correct> but when it comes to gravity and siphoning, sometimes things don't work the way you may think they should.  Thanks for the info.   <Mmm, liquids are relatively (to gasses) incompressible... once the lines, volute are filled... Bob Fenner> Tank flow, can you have too much? 1/4/07 Hey guys, <'Allo, Graham with you tonight, Randy.> I have read a lot of mixed reviews on here about tank flow. I currently am about 6 months into a 90 gal saltwater tank and I must admit that in the beginning I had problems but now things are really beginning to look good, meaning that the coral is growing and mushrooms are mushing <hehe...> and the few tank mates that I have are doing well. I do know that I skimped in the beginning on a skimmer and that was a mistake but in about 2 weeks I will get a AquaC Remora/Remora Pro which should take care of me in that end right? Also, I am running 2 bio wheel filters, one on each end of the tank and I have just added a powerhead in the tank about a month ago which has really improved the looks of all the tankmates. I am not using a sump <?> so everything is hang on back. The question is flow. I don't think that one powerhead blowing across the center is correct and I am going to purchase 2 smaller ones instead. Am I right so far in my thinking? <Mmmm... mostly. I think the one thing every crewer would agree on is that you need flow. Lots of flow. Keep the big powerhead and buy the little ones, too. Make sure they are oriented in a way as to create turbulence. (Sounds easy, right?) You want to avoid making the tank a "cyclone" by arranging the power heads in opposing directions that result in random currents. If you see a particle swirl in the same path over and over again before getting filtered, the goal has not been reached.> Then also from reading, a 90 gal will need about 1350gph flow total right? <Sounds good to me.> Is this figure a total of everything including the powerheads that will be in my tank moving the water? <Yup.> What would you suggest here? I want a nice tank with all happy tankmates that actually continue to live. Thanks for a great site. <See above, and read read read. You will succeed! (Did that rhyme on-purpose?) >   Randy <-Graham T.> Water Flow...To Change or Not? - 12/17/06 I was randomly reading through your marine articles last night with no particular question in mind, when I came upon the articles on flow.  I'd never given water movement a ton of thought, except to simply move a whole lot of water around.... (quick background....150gal tank, Berlin, 2" live sand, approx. 225lbs live rock, various fish & inverts.....No corals)  Now, I'm reading about all of the different types of water movement and their pro's & con's, and it seems my set-up, which I now believe to be laminar, has the most cons. <<Hmm...actually...I've come to think alternating laminar flow to be best...and is what I use in my reef system>> I have my rock piled up in a lean-to fashion, pyramiding up against the back wall of the tank.  I'm using 3 Maxi-Jet 1200's across the back wall at various heights to push the water from left to right.  I'm using 3 more in various positions & depths to "return" the water from right to left across the front of the tank.  Now, while I know we cannot really create a cyclone in a rectangle, it just seemed to be the most efficient, but after reading your article, now I'm not so sure.  Is there a most efficient placement to try to hit all the "dead spots" and to make sure the most water is filtered through the most rock? <<In this instance with this equipment, placing the powerheads in such a manner so the streams will "collide" and provide random turbulent flow will likely give you the best chance for eliminating dead spots, keeping detritus in suspension, etc.>> Or are the caveats mostly aimed at coral damage, of which I do not have/have to worry about? <<A strong consideration in reef setups, yes...but also important for the reasons just stated>> Or am I simply trying to fix something that isn't broken? <<You tell me?  Are the fishes healthy/active?  Is water quality up to snuff?  It's quite possible your current configuration is just fine>> Thank you my briny friends, I don't know what the captive undersea world would do without you! -Pat <<I am happy to assist.  Eric Russell>>

180 gallon tank circulation   12/15/06 Mr. Fenner, <Frank> Would it be safe to say, on a 180 Gallon Reef set-up, if I have a 750 gph pump running my sump, which will feed my Protein skimmer and my refuge and run through my chiller back to my tank and I also have a 1100 gph pump on a closed loop system. Will this be enough circulation for the tank. Thanks in advance. Frank <For? This is on the very low side IMO... likely, depending on the actual make/model... engineering of the pumps in question, and their arrangement plumbing-wise, you might have but about half the "estimated" flow-rates. Bob Fenner>

Re: 180 gallon tank circulation  12/18/06 Hi Bob, <Frank> Thanks for the reply. I will try to be a little more descriptive about the pumps I have. On my sump I have a Turbo Sea -790P, before it goes back to the main tank it runs through my chiller. This pump is rated at 793 gph at 0 feet of head and 725 gph at 4 feet of head, <Remarkably little loss...> with a max of 20.7 feet. The drains from the main tank feed the sump, which contains my skimmer and refuge. My skimmer (Euro-Reef RS250) has its own pump GEN-X 6000. On the closed loop system I have a Turbo Sea - 1100P. This pump is rated at 1110 gph at 0 feet of head and 1000 gph at 4 feet of head, with a max of 26.9 feet. The pump has 1.0" inlet and outlet, I am using 1.0" PVC up to the tank and then reduce the size to 3/4" outlets. <Okay> On the 790P pump I have a total of five feet of vertical and five feet of horizontal, with (3) 90.0's, then out to the tank via sea-swirl. <All right> On the 1100P pump I have two feet of vertical, 6 feet of horizontal, (1) T, (3) 45.0's, (3) 90.0's all in 1" pvc. Then it is reduced to 3/4" pvc, four feet of vertical, (two feet on each side) and then (2) 90.0's out to main tank with various robo fittings, for directional control. Given the above facts do you think I have enough flow or should I increase the water flow. Thanks Again Frank <I do find you have adequate flow with this further description. Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Flow woes... not so    12/10/06 I was randomly reading through your marine articles last night with no particular question in mind, when I came upon the articles on flow. I'd never given water movement a ton of thought, except to simply move a whole lot of water around....(quick background....150gal tank, Berlin, 2" live sand, appx. 225lbs live rock, various fish & inverts..... No corals)   Now, I'm reading about all of the different types of water movement and their pro's & con's, and it seems my set-up, which I now believe to be laminar, has the most cons. <And to think how happy you were...>   I have my rock piled up in a lean-to fashion, pyramiding up against the back wall of the tank. I'm using 3 MaxiJet 1200's across the back wall at various heights to push the water from left to right. I'm using 3 more in various positions & depths to "return" the water from right to left across the front of the tank. Now, while I know we cannot really create a cyclone in a rectangle, it just seemed to be the most efficient, but after reading your article, now I'm not so sure. Is there a most efficient placement to try to hit all the "dead spots" and to make sure the most water is filtered through the most rock? <Mmm... well, "the more the merrier", "cyclonic" designs, randomized... are all good flow properties/characteristics... and if you're fine with your powerhead arrangement, I'd keep it> Or are the caveats mostly aimed at coral damage, of which I do not have/have to worry about? <Mmm, yes... more Cnidarians in mind here... though other sessile invertebrates can be caused harm...> Or am I simply trying to fix something that isn't broken? Thank you my briny friends, I don't know what the captive undersea world would do without you!   -Pat <I would leave your arrangement as is... "next tank"... you can devise something different... like a closed-loop device and external pump. Bob Fenner> Water Flow And Corals 10/16/06 Hi WWM. <Hi Omar.> First let me say I love your site it is a database full of useful knowledge. <Thank you.> I have a question about water flow. First here is <are> my tank parameters. 75 gallon   PH 8.3, Ammonia 0, Nitrate <10 ppm, Nitrite 0, PO4 0 Carbonate Hardness 8, Specific Gravity 1.024, Calcium 450ppm 20 gal sump Berlin protein skimmer for up to 250 gal Tunze 6100 with single controller 1 Blue Damsel 1 Blue Hippo Tang 1 Kole Tang 1 Clown Tang 1 Fairy Wrasse 2 Tomato Clowns 3 Bubble Tip Anemones...Started with one and it split Waving hand Coral Pulsing Xenia Toadstool Leather Finger Leather Green Star Polyps Unidentified Mushrooms Pagoda Cup Chili Coral Christmas Tree Coral Yellow Sun Polyps <The tangs will need a larger home before too long.> I just added the Tunze 6100 and it seems like to much flow. My Xenias are breaking off the stalk, the toadstool is drooping, and the Finger leather is starting to lay over. On the other hand The Sun polyps, Christmas Tree, and Chili are doing amazing. Is the Tunze to much flow or will the coral get used <I have no idea what a "youse" is, please explain.> to the extra flow? How should I set the controller? Any info you give me will be greatly appreciated. <Hard corals generally prefer higher flow rates, but softies really aren't too happy with it.  The Tunze 6100 specs mention a 105 gallon minimum tank size.  The Turbelle Stream Pump, which is what you have, puts out a ton of water and was not designed as a circulation pump, but for wavemaker use.  I'm not familiar with their controller, or what it is capable of, but if it were me, I try very short bursts of water with about 15-45 seconds of delay between the bursts.  I'd also address your concerns as to pump operation, to Tunze, at this website.   http://www.tunze.com/117.html?C=US&L=1> Thanks Again, Omar <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> <<Sorry about the "youse".  Did find it in the dictionary, but you are using the word incorrectly.  See here.  "In addition to y'all, other forms for plural you include you-uns, youse, and you guys or youse guys. Youse is common in vernacular varieties in the Northeast, particularly in large cities such as New York and Boston, and is also common in Irish English. You-uns is found in western Pennsylvania and in the Appalachians and probably reflects the Scotch-Irish roots of many European settlers to these regions. You guys and youse guys appear to be newer innovations than the other dialectal forms of plural you." >> - 10/28/06 Tunze question ! Hi there, <Howzit?> What are your thoughts of the Tunze Wave Box ? <A mighty fine product amongst many from this European manufacturer> I am in the process of choosing between too many options for my 150 gal circulation, planning to keep SPS and I find that installing a closed loop system is very pricy compared to Tunze streams or wave boxes. Thanks Ramy Toronto, Canada <Is expensive... but worth it IMO. Bob Fenner>

Ocean Motions 4-Way - 10/18/06 Hi Crew, <<Ramy>> What is your feedback about the 4-way Oceans Motions device?  Is it really any good? <<I know several hobbyists who have the Oceans Motions Squirt and think it is wonderful...I also know of one hobbyist who had problems from the start though a "replacement" made things better.  I have a store owner friend who uses these all the time in his custom tank-builds.  The device looks/feels solid and appears well made but seems to me to run a bit "warm" though as I stated, most everyone I know who has one thinks it is great piece of equipment.  Try visiting/posting a question on one of the reef boards (RC or reefs.org) for a broader opinion>> Thanks, Ramy Toronto, Canada <<Quite welcome.  EricR>>

Water Movement/First SPS - 10/13/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I would like to try some SPS corals.  I have kept leathers, torch and hammer corals for a few years now along with some Xenia so I think I would like to graduate to some SPS now. <<Please do try to research the individual species you are interested in for their care requirements>> I just added 2 Tunze Turbelle 6060 to my 125 gallon reef. <<Great pumps>> They are set about half way up the side set diagonally to intersect the return from my sump with is from a 1500gph pump. <<Sounds good>> Is this too much flow? <<You tell me...how are your corals reacting?  But generally speaking no, I don't think it is too much flow if applied correctly>> The Turbelle pumps are rated at 1600gph each.  My leather corals, Torch etc. are all opened and seem fine. <<Ah...well there's your answer then...>> The fish seem to enjoy it. <<Indeed they do>> Additionally what SPS can you recommend for my first endeavor... Thank You, John <<Hmm...the fact you have noxious soft corals and aggressive LPS already in the tank puts you at a disadvantage already in my opinion.  Not that mixing families/species of coral can't be/isn't done...but it does make keeping all happy more challenging...and difficult in the long term.  But that aside, give your hand a try with some Montipora digitata.  This SPS coral can be found in varying colors and is a bit more "forgiving" in terms of environment/care than many of the Acropora species, in my opinion.  Regards, EricR>>

Circulation Upgrade - 10/03/06 I have a 90 gallon Oceanic bowfront tank, and want to upgrade my circulation. <<An always worthwhile and oft overlooked upgrade in my opinion>> I currently have (2) Rio 2500 powerheads in the tank (for circulation only), and the return from my sump is 900 GPH, split with a tee in to two Lock-Lines. <<Some good flow>> I want to get rid of the Rio pumps in the tank, and I am debating between the following scenarios: 1. (2) Tunze 6060 powerheads (1600 GPH each), placed at opposite ends of the tank 2. (1) Tunze 6000 powerhead (1850 GPH) with a 7091 speed controller The 6060 powerheads cannot be speed controlled, but provide more overall flow volume from multiple locations.  The 6000 would cycle at different flow rates, and has a night-mode and feeding-mode.   The tank will contain 125 pounds of live rock, soft corals, LPS, and a few fish.  The return pump from the sump is an Ocean Runner 3500, which is rated at 900 GPH.  Which of the powerhead systems do you think would be a better for my tank? <<Considering the size of the tank and the livestock you intend to keep I would opt for the 6000.  I really like the electronic Tunzes...position this one opposite/meeting your sump return with about a 6-second pulse (max. 100-percent/min. 30-percent) and you'll be golden>> Thank you, Steve Lasik <<A pleasure to assist.  Eric Russell>>

Closed Loop Manifold...Where Does The Water Go?  9/26/06 Hi once more. <Hello again.> I sent you a note last night about a closed loop manifold and in the meantime have continued to research this project. As I read all these articles on the web about the system, I'm not seeing one thing mentioned. If I'm putting 3000gph into my tank, how the heck does it get out? I'm running the biggest CPR overflow on my tank and it's rated at 1600 and is getting no where near that flow rate. I had to put a ball valve in my return line to slow the input of my Iwaki 40rlxt and it's only rated at 1100gph. Do I just add more overflows to the back of the tank and drain them into the waste chamber of my sump? won't that make just one heck of a lot of noise. <Here is a link to an article by Anthony Calfo re this subject.  Should shed some more light for you.   http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2003/short.htm> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Flow Question 9/24/06 My question actually is in regards to water turn-over.  I've always heard 4 times an hour, which is about where I am now with a 575gph return pump and a 4ft head height.  But I've read on your web site, and others, that 10 to 20 times turnover an hour is recommended for mini-reefs. <That's correct'¦you want at least a 10 time turnover> My sump already sounds like a tidal wave is coming, with water vigorously pouring in from the overflows.  Evaporation is quite fast -- 2g a day, because of all the water turbulence, and you can see a constant, steady mist of salt spray over the input area in the sump.  I simply cannot imagine increasing water flow through the sump to 750 to 1500 gallons an hour. I'm sure it would sound like filling a bath tub.   <Could be a bit scary! I would recheck the plumbing> I'm running 3 power heads; a 250gph, a 175 and a 110.  They are all causing pretty good flow around the rocks and corals, good water surface turbulence, and turbulence in the water column. Enough to gently blow corals around and keep detritus suspended. I'm hoping this is the case, but does this 10-20 times turnover include power heads and in-tank circulation?   If not, I really can't imagine 1500 gallons of water going through a sump every hour'¦ <Scott, the 10 time turnover is a general rule.  You overflow is only designed for so much flow and can only take so much.  I'm not sure of your exact set up, but I would think you could go to at least 750 GPH with no problem.  Flow is very important in a reef tank.  I personally wouldn't include power heads in your turnover rate'¦figure those as an added bonus!> Thanks guys! <Our pleasure! Cheers -- Dr. J> Scott S. Pump selections  9/6/06 Dear Mr. Fenner: <T Ruby> I am moving up in the reefing world and got a 75RR tank and will be using my old 20g long as a sump. I am a little confused on what pumps to use. I am hoping you can shed some light for me. I bought the MRC MR1 skimmer and the GenX PCX40 for the skimmer pump. I do not know what type of pump to consider for using as my return pump. My overflow is rated at 600gph and has 1" inlet and 1" drain <An important consideration... won't be able to handle this actual flow rate... Might consider re-drilling or having another through-put drilled... of larger diameter> and both are plumbed using 1" spa flex hose to the bulk heads in the bottom of the tank. You have any good suggestions on a return pump? <Yes... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pumpselmar.htm and the linked files above> I was told to consider the Pan World pumps. Along with this, I would be in need of a 3rd external pump, I am planning on plumbing a closed loop for this system, I really hate the ugliness of powerheads in the tank. I will be using 1.25" PVC going up to a "T" then 1.25" going left and right off the "T" to 90 degree elbows. Then right at the elbows reduced down to 3/4" PVC running up to the top of the tank to a 90, then another 90 going down into the tank. This will be the same for the left side and right sides of the tank.. What type of pump would be able to push about 800-900gph at that head pressure?? <See the above...> If I do not do the closed loop, what do you think about the wave2k? <A worthwhile unit> would this replace a closed loop system? <Mmm, could> I am unsure if the wave2k will put flow through out the whole tank? <Would help...> Thanks for you help! <Do read "around" the linked files... on circulation... Bob Fenner>

Water Movement/Corkscrew Worms - 0/29/06 Good afternoon to all!! <<Morning now...Hello!>> I have a question about water movement.  I have a 55 gal FOWLR with approximately 65lbs of live rock, and a 3.5" DSB.  I have two very old and inefficient powerheads in opposite corners.  The return is a dual return in the middle of the tank, attached to the front of the overflow.  The return pump is a Rio 3100.  I am have trouble with waste accumulations in the "dead" areas, and have to vacuum out every two weeks.  Would the addition of two 475 GPH powerheads, in addition to the Rio 3100, be too much flow in the tank? <<Most any tank will benefit from an increase of water flow if employed correctly so as to not blast tissue from corals/provide a random turbulent flow pattern...so no, not 'too much'>> I am also having problems with BGA,  I have read in WWM that increased flow really helps in control of this nuisance. <<Correct, this alga favors "calmer" waters>> On the flip side, I have noticed several new growths, as well as the addition of copepods.  The growths consist of some white patches on several of the LR, typically on the undersides.  I am assuming these are sponges. <<Mmm, yes...likely syconoid sponges>> I also have seen many small worms, about 1/4 to 1/2" in length.  These come out after the 10K daylight goes off.  They will get up on a peak on the LR, and launch into the current, spinning in a corkscrew like manner. <<Interesting>> They are pretty much all over the tank and in the Wet/Dry underneath the main tank.  They are white in coloration.  Any clue what these are? <<Have heard/read about similar "sightings" of this worm, what you're witnessing is likely reproductive behavior...I don't know the species but it is harmless if not beneficial>> I would attach pics, but they are way too small to get a clear shot. <<No worries>> Anyway....thanks again for all you do for us amateurs!!! Regards, Jeff <<Happy to help.  EricR>>

Adding Powerheads, Tank Marketing 8/28/06 I have a question regarding our 90 gallon tank at work. Internal We were told that the tank needs more water flow and added oxygen at the bottom of the tank so we'd need to purchase 2 power heads. <ok> We currently have a mag drive 9.5 with a protein skimmer and overflow. I guess my question is why do they make and sell these entire set ups that hide all the pumps internally if you end up needing to put additional pumps in their anyways?  We just didn't want any pumps showing in the tank. <In a word marketing.  They either need to design the system with a bigger pump or sell you extra powerheads, both increase cost, limit buyers.  Plus, these system are often based on fresh water designs with an added protein skimmer, which needs less water movement than salt water.  If you are feeling handy try looking into a closed loop system, adds water movement without internal pumps.> Thanks for your help! Nancy <Anytime> <Chris>

Is it worth it? Upgrades to a FOWLR/Reef... Skimmer and circ. concerns  8/28/06 Hello again WWM crew! <Mohammad>     I'm currently planning to upgrade my new FOWLR into a reef aquarium. Currently, my circulation and the Protein Skimmer are not suitable for a reef setup.     My preferred place for a Protein Skimmer is in a sump. <Mine too> I currently don't have a sump for my 100 gallon tank. I have very limited space for a sump, around 12.5x14" footprint, and about 22" height. I thought maybe I can use an AquaC Urchin Pro for it's slim profile, but after thorough reading in the net and WWM a small sump won't be easy to make (That is, for a 100 gallon).    Would it be a better idea to use an AquaC Remora Pro H.O.T. instead? <If the space limitation is as you say, yes> Or do you think that making a small sump with the Urchin (I personally don't think that I can even squeeze 5 gallons in there...) is a better idea? <Mmm, too little "room to spare" IMO>     My second question concerns the circulation. I came to understand that corals in a reef tank prefer random turbulent flow. <Most species, communities, yes> I plan to buy two Tunze Turbelle Streams (6060) to place on opposite directions of the tank. Since Tunze Streams are very powerful, I believe they should only be placed on the top of the tank. Will this cause dead spots to form in the bottom of the tank? Or is it not a problem? <Not likely on both counts, due to the force and volume of flow> I appreciate your help. Enjoy. Mohammad <And you, Bob Fenner> Equipment/Pumps...Tunze Stream 6060 Circulation Question - 08/26/2006 Hello, <Hi> First, I would like to thank you for your great effort in helping those in need. <You're welcome> Well, this time I'm one of them. I have a new 100 gallon FOWLR tank that I'm converting to a reef tank soon, and my question lies in circulation. Initially I was planning to upgrade my circulation by adding two Maxi-Jet 1200's to total about 600 gph. But I came to understand that I want more circulation. I'm not a big fan of filling my tank with powerheads, and that is when I started to consider the Tunze Stream 6060. What I liked about it is the power it packed (around 1600 gph). Will this powerhead be enough as the sole provider of circulation for my 100 gallon tank? And what about dead spots? <An excellent pump, but you will likely have dead spots. My suggestion would be to go with the Dr. Foster & Smith package that includes three Maxi-Jet 1200's and an Aquarium Systems Wavemaker Timer.  This will give you a random flow rate totaling close to 900 gph, and can be had for about 90 bucks complete.  Along with your return pump, this should give you plenty of circulation and little or no dead spots.  Tunze makes an excellent wavemaker box that closely simulates nature, but this would be out of your budget range by another 400 bucks.> Also do you know if there is any another brand of powerhead that packs a punch like the Tunze and can be used alone (keep in mind that the 6060 is the maximum of what my budget allows)? <Not in the power head format.> I also have another question. I'm adding a sump in the near future. My plan is to use a CPR CS100 overflow box (flow rate 800 gph) and an AquaC Urchin Pro (due to limited space), and I am having trouble in choosing a good return pump. What do you recommend? <I'd probably go with an Ocean Runner 3500.  Will give you 900gph at the head, and is one of the more efficient pumps with a 65 watt current draw.  Do compare others also.> Sorry for taking your time. <That is what we are here for.> Thank you and keep up the great work. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Mohammad

- Water Flow 8/22/06 - Hi WWM crew, I am a beginner in the aquarium marine world and I have a question regarding circulation in my 55g tank.  I have about 1 more week left in the cycling stage and I am looking forward to adding some cleaners in the tank.  I have been able to enjoy some Mysis shrimp and a small white star (about 2mm) so far.  My set up is below. 55g tank Aqua C Remora Pro (in one corner) 50lbs of sand 55 lbs of LR 2 Seio M620 pump (facing each other toward the front glass) PC lighting. 2-65w actinics and 2-65w whites Things have been good so far and the tank is moving along in regards to cycling.  My nitrites are just about at 0 and Ammonia is at 0.  My question is in regards to the flow.  I was just able to purchase a HOT magnum 250 (I placed it in the other corner) and I am just running the activated carbon.  (I do plan on putting all of this in a sump some day.  I don't have the room for it at the moment)  When I set the canister filter in place and turned it on the added flow to the tank really stirred things up on the bottom and off of the LR.  I know that 10-20 times water flow is the recommended range but I think that I am looking close to 1300-1500 gph. Should I remove one of the M620's?  I have played with the positioning to help minimize the stuff from the LS and LR from floating around but the current in the tank still looks pretty strong.   I'm not sure if what I am looking at is too much or not.  Any help would be appreciated. <I'd actually ditch the Magnum 220 instead. You don't "need" the carbon filtration at this point and you can always drop a bag into the outbound side of your AquaC if need be.> Thanks Paul <Cheers, J -- >

- Water Flow, Follow-up 8/25/06 - Thank you for the response.  I assume the flow isn't too much? <Well... in relative terms, it's difficult to have too much flow compared to the real thing, but at the same time you don't want to be sloshing water out of the tank.> The store (marine only) I was going to told me I didn't need one and then I went to a second store (pet store that deals heavily in marine) told me I should definitely have one. <Have one what?> I figured it couldn't hurt and I have read lots of stuff on this site about people using activated carbon. <Ahh, ok.> I must say this though, and I'm not sure if this is good or not, but the green algae in my water has cleared up tremendously since last night when I put in the Magnum and the tank looks incredible.   It is so clear now where before it had a heavy green tinge to it. <Well, that is one of the things carbon can deal with, but keep in mind that it is pretty much used up after 72 hours in the tank.>  Is it helpful or hurtful to leave it in since I bought it? <It's your electric bill.> Its probably indifferent if I can put the activated carbon in the Aqua C.  I do plan on putting soft corals in the tank at some point though.  I have been reading on this site for 2 months now  (probably too much at work) and I have read TCMA.  Your crew has put together an excellent website full of information.  I'm so excited just to put snails and crabs in the tank let alone fish.  I can't decide what type of fish to put in.  The only definite are 2 clowns.  I figure a couple of small goby's and bennies will be nice.  I already want to run out and buy a huge tank and start this process again and I don't even have anything in my 55 yet. <Take your time.> Thanks again for all of your hard work. Paul <Cheers, J -- > Flow Rates/Tank Turnover/Plumbing Confusion - 08/10/06 Hi, <<Howdy>> I used to have a 72Gallon Bow front tank set up but had to take it down. Now that I am setting it back up after a couple of years I had some questions on turnover rate and setup. <<OK>> I did read "Water Flow, how much is enough?" by Anthony Calfo and found it really useful.  Since my tank is empty I have the option now to drill holes, plumb the way I want and get a quieter pump.  I had a GEN-X 40 that will be my backup but it was too loud.  I was shooting between 10-20X turnover. <<A lot of water to process through your sump...can be done, but usually requires some effort to get things flowing well/quieted down>> But while searching various web sites and talking to people I was advised that I only need 3-5 times turnover through the sump and I should just add a closed-loop to make up the rest. <<This would be my recommendation as well.  This flow rate through your sump will be MUCH easier to manage>> Some say over skimming or reduce bubbles or noise etc. <<...?>> Some said it is not required in the sump or fuge.  Is this correct? <<Is what 'correct'?  I'm not sure what you are asking here, but if you mean 20x tank turnover through the sump then no, this is not "required">> It's been a couple of years so I want to make sure things have not changed. <<Mmm, the hobby is changing/progressing all the time...but fluid dynamics won't have changed>> Also I was going to put on a Sea-Swirl for more water movement.  I was not sure if one in the middle of the tank or two on each end would be better. <<Will depend in part on how big (flow rate) a Sea-Swirl you opt for, but generally speaking, one at each end of the tank would be best for good coverage/flow throughout the tank>> But they seem to only be on the surface so my thought was one in the middle and have a Tunze Turbelle Stream Pump lower in the tank (ever use these? Are they good?). <<This configuration too could work...and yes, I am familiar/use Stream pumps in my 375g reef tank...an excellent product in my opinion>> Based on that I can then drill the back for my overflow in the corner or middle.  I have a lot of options and need some help thinking this through. <<Glad to proffer my opinions>> a) One or two sea-swirls? <<Two>> b) Placement of overflow? <<Center...with a minimum 1.5" drain and 1" return>> c) Sea-Swirl(s), closed-loop, or from sump return? <<For a high flow rate/water movement...the Sea-Swirls (or Tunzes) or closed-loop>> d) Where to put the Tunze (opposite of overflow if in corner? or opposite of return from sump if not sea-swirl)? <<Either option is fine>> e) Where to put the return from sump if not sea-swirl?  Corner, middle, opposite side of overflow? <<Wherever it is needed to provide/augment flow based on your other configurations>> f) Does the closed-loop get water from the overflow?  Or do I drill back as source? <<The closed-loop pump will need its own "source">> Or add PVC with holes hanging in the tank. (hope that makes sense) <<For the closed-loop intake?  Mmm, best to drill a bulkhead>> g) Pump Velocity T4 at 1275GPH - but with 4ft head and 3 - 7 90's depending on how many returns I have.  This is not a pressure-rated pump but according to the flow rates I would get between 1080 - 900gph depending on the how many 90's I have.  Is this enough? <<For which application?...it is more than you need for the sump return...likely not enough for a closed-loop>> Do I need more and should I have this split to two returns? Thanks, Jason <<There's much to consider my friend, please have a read through our plumbing FAQs, here's a good place to start ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm) and be sure to follow/read among the links in blue.  Regards, EricR>>

More Water Flow   8/3/06 Hi Anthony: <Hi John, This is Adam J. Anthony helps out with the WWM FAQs and articles still but is not here on a daily basis. He does however have his own forum at Marine Depot. If you would like his opinion I suggest posting there as he does monitor it several times daily. In the mean time I will give you my take on the situation.> I don't know if you answer these types of questions (you can answer privately if you would like). < ^^ See above.> I have been looking at all of the various wavemakers/flow devices that I can find on the net.  I was wondering if you had a personal preference for one or the other for use on an SPS tank. <I know from personal conversation that Anthony much prefers the use of a closed-loop manifold system to any waver making, power head devices. I tend to agree.> I have a 110 g. tank (60"x18") attached to a lagoon refugium/sump of? 200 g. if that makes any difference to your opinion.  On first blush I like the Ocean Motion and the Tunze systems: <No experience with the OceanMotion'¦only the Motion in the Ocean'¦.sorry bad pun. Tunze products however, are of great quallity.> but it's so hard to know since I have not seen them in operation.   < ^^ See above.> BTW, just thought I would mention that I have asked you several questions over the last few years and you were always very helpful!!!! <I will pass the thanks on to him.> Also, pass along to Bob that he has also been very helpful and I enjoy his (sometimes) cryptic answers!!!   <They are both great at leading people in the right direction without spoon-feeding folks.> <<Thank you for this Adam... my intent. RMF>> I think it is very admirable that you guys give away your expertise for the benefit of our magnificent charges. <I too admire them.> If only we could get everyone in the hobby to take their charges' lives so seriously. Anyway, thanks to you and Bob for your care and help!!  Greg <Hope I have helped, Adam J.>

Re: More Water-flow  - 08/05/06 Hi Adam: <Hey Greg!> Thanks again for the response. <Anytime.> One more quick one for you...I know that a closed-loop is very tank specific but do you know of any DIY-type plans that could give me a good idea of what I am going for? <Sure do! An Article actually written by Anthony posted here on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm.> I think I understand "random chaotic" but it never hurts to check out someone else's great implementation.  Thanks, Greg <No prob! Adam J.> Water Flow/Marine   7/25/06 Hey Crew, <Brett> I have a 40 gallon high (36x12x21 - no sump).  Right now for flow I have 2 Maxijet 900s and an AquaClear 70 (for flow/carbon) along with A Remora HOB skimmer.  I'm trying to decide if I need a bit more flow.  Would I be safe to replace the MaxiJets with Seio 620s and keep the AC70?  I'm worried the Seios would have to much flow for my tank and might cause a sandstorm in a well established DSB. <Two Seio 620's would give you 1240 gph, a little much for a 40 gallon tank. A total flow rate of 400-450 will be fine.> I also heard the Seios flow is adjustable.  If so, how much? <The direction of flow is adjustable, not the flow rate.> I also thought about a closed loop system and run it with a mag 9. Thoughts? <Would be a waste of time/money.  Tank isn't large enough to benefit from this.> Thanks again! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Brett Increasing Water flow in Marine Aquaria'¦Options    6/14/06 Hi, <Who goes there? I mean hi'¦..> First, thanks in advance for any assistance that you can offer. <Mmm'¦you're welcome in advanced.> I have been asked to take over maintenance of a marine aquarium in a doctor's office. <Ooh the service business!> There are some problems with the hardware setup that I can deal with.  All of the plumbing is on one side of the aquarium, in the wall.  It not easily accessible and I am working on getting that changed.   <Yes the ease of maintenance and efficiency is by far the most important thing with 'business' or 'serviced' tanks in my opinion.> My biggest concern is the fact that the water circulation is on only one side of the aquarium. <Time to improve that!> The algae was been uncontrollable for them. <Probably nutrient problems here not to mention the water circulation issues'¦.I'm willing to bet those light bulbs are old too?> I have put additional powerheads in the aquarium which seems to control the algae. <Effective though in my opinion not pretty, aesthetically, in a doctors office.> The part of the tank that has little of no water circulation is my biggest concern.  I have placed a power head on that side but I don't think it is enough because nothing grows on that side.  The fish and invertebrates even avoid it. <Time for a more drastic change like pair of Tunze streams or even better for this application a Closed Loop Manifold System.> I was wondering if a wave maker would help. <A wavemaker put on the current powerheads will make the powerheads create more aesthetically pleasing and turbulent flow but will not increase ('help') with the lack of water flow by any means.>   I have also been considering more power heads but, it is on display and I would like to keep it appealing. I would be grateful for any suggestions you could make. <See the above suggestions.> Regards, Fawn Curtis <Good luck, Adam J.>

Re: Increasing Water Flow in Marine Aquaria  06/14/2006 Hi, <Hello.> Thanks for your reply. <Anytime.> I will research, Tunze streams and Closed Loop Manifold System since I don't know about them. <Great.> Just to clarify, I am not in the aquarium maintenance business. <Oh 'okay.> I'm just a patient who suffered near fatal brain injury. <Sorry to hear that, but glad you are here exchanging emails with me today!> I have been successful with my own aquariums. Wet Web Media and the Conscientious Aquarist have been awesome resources. <Thank for the kind words.> Thank you very much. <No problem.> Best Regards, <To you as well.> Fawn Curtis <Adam Jackson.> Regulating Pump Flow... Inadequate Factory Overflows - 06/12/06 Hi Crew, <<John>> I bought an Eheim 1262 to use as the return from my sump to my 90g (with AGA Megaflow). <<I love Eheim pumps...wish we could get some of the bigger ones over here>> It's a great pump, but it seems too powerful for the Megaflow system. <<Not so "Mega-", eh?>> Actually, I should say it seems too powerful to run the Megaflow quietly - water rushes though the system and it sounds like a dishwasher. <<Typical of these undersized (Mega or not) factory overflow systems>> I've read through the FAQs and this seems like a common problem. <<VERY common>> One suggestion that helped was to increase the diameter of the hole at the top of the Megaflow drain tube.  However, my system is still extremely noisy, unless I pinch and restrict the flow coming out of the Eheim. <<Replacing the Megaflow drain tube with a Durso-style standpipe might allow both an increase in flow AND a reduction in noise...but still no replacement for the simple want/need of a larger throughput>> So my question is (finally) is it safe to add a ball-valve on the return side of the Eheim, or will this produce too much back pressure and jeopardize plumbing connections? <<This is quite safe and satisfactory, though I would install a gate-valve as opposed to the ball-valve for better "finesse" of the flow.  Magnetic drive pumps such as the Eheim respond to/endure this type of control/adjustment very well.  But do make sure you install the valve on the "output" side of the pump>> Would it be better to step down to the Eheim 1260 and let it run unrestricted? <<Not in my opinion.  The plumbing lines will eventually start to restrict from bio/mineral accumulation...but with a twist of the valve you can step up flow to compensate>> Thanks, John H. <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Closed-Loop...No Manifold - 06/12/06 Hi Crew - <<Hello!>> Need some advice please. <<I'll see what I can do...>> After reading the FAQs on circulation I have decided to install a closed-loop system w/o manifold on my 92 gal corner FOWLR. <<Okay>> I have a decent amount of circulation with out it - about 12X.  I think that's OK for a FOWLR but just want the extra flow and had extra parts, e.g.- pumps, etc. <<I see>> I plan to use a Quiet One 4000 pump and a 3/4-inch Sea Swirl wave maker.  My intake would be the intake tubing from an old canister filter. <<Mmm, as in a siphon tube?  Is this large enough?  Should be the same diameter is the intake port on the pump>> Because of space limitations I would like to place the pump in the sump with my return pump.  It will still be a closed-loop since my intake will take water from my display and will return it through my Sea Swirl powered by CL pump.  Plus if the pump leaks it will be in the sump. <<Agreed>> Are there any draw backs to this approach, e.g.- increased bubbles? <<As long as you don't have a loose/leaky joints air bubbles shouldn't be a problem, but starving the pump (too-small input line) may cause issues>> Will I still get the minimum head loss associated with closed-loops? <<At least, yes>> Finally does it really matter if I use Spa Flex, i.e.- Flexible PVC of flexible tubing instead of regular PVC? <<For the application you describe...should be fine>> Thanks in advance for any insight. <<Welcome, EricR>>

One pump or two?   5/15/06 Hi Crew < Hello Adlai! > I am trying to plumb my new 120 gallon and wanted some advice before going down this path.  Taking your advice I swore that my next tank would be reef ready - no more dinking saltwater for me via J tubes. < I cant say I blame you a bit! > The tank has 2 overflows rated at 600 gph each so I expect 1200 gph approx into my sump. In ADDITION to sending water through the 2 returns which come with tank setup I also plan to draw water from the sump via a SCWD using a ViaAqua 2600 rated at 740 gph. This means I will have 4 returns (2 with the overflows and 2 with the SCWD) using the sump water. So I figured I needed approx a 1200 gph submersible to make allowances for head loss pressure etc. Since the drains are only rated at 1200 gph that is the maximum amount of water that will be coming in to the sump which is 12X24X14. The 2 returns can be powered by either 1 pump (any recommendations) or 2 separate pumps ( I have an Eheim 1260 and a ViaAqua 2600). In addition, another ViaAqua 2600 which is also in my sump, will be shooting water through a SCWD and 2 separate returns. In regards to the SCWD return, my thinking is that since the ViaAqua is rated at 740 gph, I expect about 50% of water flow because of the SCWD and the returns i.e. approx 370-400 gph of flow. < You are correct, the SCWD reduce the gph significantly. You may want to employ a larger pump to enjoy the benefits of the SCWD. 400-500 gph will be almost unnoticeable. Think about running the SCWD on a closed loop, with a pump rated for 1000-1200 gph. This can be done without drilling any more holes in the tank. When plumbing the SCWD, consider installing true union ball valves. This will allow you to shut off the water completely, and service the SCWD without losing too much water. Some people will have a secondary SCWD to switch out, while cleaning the first. > In regards to the regular returns , the Eheim I currently have is rated at 635 gph will give me about  50% water flow at a 5 foot head approx 320-400 gph. The other ViaAqua 2600 will give me about 350 gph at 5 ft head So when I add all 3 pumps in the sump I will be getting approx the 1200 gph which the returns are rated at.  Are there any flaws to this logic? < Three pumps in the sump may generate too much heat! > Am I not considering any potential challenges. Should I just use 1 submersible pump to send water back the 2 tank returns so that I will only have 2 pumps in the sump. < Think about running one pump for the return, rated at or near 800- 1000 gph. With the build-up of detritus and biological waste over time, the maximum water handling of the overflows will be reduced. It is better to be slightly underpowered in that regard. Also, if contact time is crucial in the effectiveness of the filtration methods employed in the sump, slower is better. Think of it this way... Let's say your job is to steal hubcaps. Would you be more successful on the freeway, or in a parking lot? > I hope this makes sense. < Makes sense to me! It is good to see planning and consideration! > Thanks in advance < You are very welcome. RichardB > Set-Up 2/Pumps/Circulation  - 05/05/2006 Hey everyone, <Hello Marc> I am looking to get an Iwaki pump to power a closed loop circulation system for my reef tank. I am looking at either the MD70 or MD40 pump for the job. The tank is 120 gallons and I have set the system up to return to the pump in the cabinet and back up to a manifold with four outlets ¾ inch each (I could plumb more in) approx 5 feet above the pump. My question is that there are two types of pumps that seem to be sold, a pressure pump and a circulation pump. What is the difference and is it as simple as picking the circulation model for this task or should I consider the pressure model for other benefits? <The circulation pump will be just fine.  The pressure models are used for protein skimmers and pressure filters where the water has to have some pressure behind it to operate these systems properly.> I am considering dropping some outlets down at the back and forcing water through various low flow areas to get the most complete flow. In doing this I assume it would generate more friction (increased pipe work) therefore more head and a higher pressure requirement? <Not enough where you would need a pressure pump.> Thanks for your time <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Marc

Circulation question   4/30/06 Hi, Thank you for your excellent resource, I do scan read the FAQ daily and have learned much already, also plan to buy Bob's book. <Oh boy! Another 28 cents, ching!> In my  (36 inch long) 40 gallon tank and want to make a random circulation pattern.  I've placed 2 CA 1200 powerheads on opposite ends facing each other on the long direction.  Is this too much current?   <Mmm, nope> The fish do come out to feed, but go in and behind rock the rest of the time. I've read putting 4 powerheads in all corners facing towards center is best, but I cannot configure them that way, I have to use suction cups on the flat sides of the tank.  If this is   too much flow, about what size powerhead do you think I should use? <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm and the linked files above> In this tank I have a Sebae anemone, <Please see WWM re...> clarki clown, purple firefish, a cleaner shrimp, 2 hermit crabs, 8 Trochus intexus snails, 40 lbs live rock, 40 lbs aragonite.  I'm running a Current-USA Outer Orbit 150   watt metal halide with 2 90 watt dual actinics, and also a 1/10th horsepower Prime mini chiller set at 80 degrees.  Also running a refugium with live rock/sand/Caulerpa prolifera with an in sump Seaclone skimmer that is working good, return pump is a Japanese Iwaki (thanks for the recommendation on this one) All water parameters are excellent as well. Thank you for your time. Craig <Bob Fenner> Nighttime Circulation Hey guys <<and gals>>, first off your website has been invaluable to me since embarking on this amazing journey that is reef keeping--muchas gracias! <<Ahh...a collective effort, am happy it has proven useful>> My question is in regards to circulation at night.  Here are some specs: 120G display, 45G sump, Euro Reef cs6-2+, Ice Cap 660 w/440 VHO watts (2 actinic, 2 white), 125lbs LR, Mag 9.5 main circulation pump, and an Iwaki MD70 pump running my closed-loop through the popularly-dubbed "Calfo manifold." <<Ha!  Indeed!>> The closed-loop runs 12 hours while the lights are on, providing around an 18-20x turnover, at night however it's probably only around 4-5x/hour.  The tank has been set up for approximately 6 months and is lightly stocked w/3 small fish, a few inverts, and 2 Euphyllia. <<Sounds good>> My ammonia/nitrites are 0, nitrates at 5, pH 8.3, 79 temp., and I run my S.G. at 1.025. <<Mmm...why the nitrates?...on such a lightly stocked tank?...over feeding/liquid supplements maybe?>> Within the last month I have been getting some red Cyanobacteria on the substrate (probably a little overfeeding), but do you foresee any problems with such a low turnover at night? <<The 4x-5x turnover rate is likely not a big problem, but I prefer to move water "full-tilt" all the time on a reef system.  I have nearly 30x turnover rate in my system that runs 24/7>> Would you recommend upsizing my return pump? <<Why not just run the closed-loop "all the time"?>> Any advice would be much appreciated. <<I see no reason to "reduce" your flow at night, your tank inhabitants will deal just fine, and probably appreciate the added circulation/gas exchange/et al.  But even so, I can't say that it's "causing harm" either.  Were it me, I would run the closed-loop 24/7>> Thanks again. Jason <<Regards, EricR>>

Water Flow/Marine/Reef   4/21/06 Greetings to the crew of WWM.  <And to you.>  This is my first letter to you folks, I have learned a great deal from reading your FAQ's and articles. <Great!> I do have a question that has been hard for most to answer.  I have a 29 gallon reef tank.  It was my first tank I set up and has been my experimentation tank.   I have many larger tanks now, but this one is my pride and joy, although not that impressive.  It was a fish only with live rock tank, then upgraded to corals.  I noticed the thing I lacked most in the tank was the water flow I could easily do in my larger tanks (90 is smallest).  I delayed the decision, because of the very large bubble Anemone I've had for 3 years now. I know how well they do when they cuddle with powerheads.  I finally dove in and threw in some powerheads.  I have an Aqua Clear 50, 70, and a Rio 600 in there.  I was going to get twin 50's, but wanted to use a Hydor rotating head and knew some power would be lost.  If my calculations are correct I'm flowing 870gph adding all the power heads and filter and skimmer.  Is that way too much?  One of your articles said you couldn't do too much, but that's almost 30x turnover.  There isn't really a vortex or anything, my fish can swim fairly well and there are NO dead spots.  The anemone has never looked happier and the polyps are opening a little more often.  I'm just afraid of having a long term negative effect.  Am I ok? Should I cut down? Any advice would be awesome.  You guys are an awesome source of info and I look forward to hearing from you. <Generally, 10 to 15% times tank volume is sufficient.  As long as the fish do not appear to be walking in Chicago you should be OK.  You may also want to get an inexpensive wave maker such as Aquarium Systems manufactures.  This will alternate power to the heads and make the corals and anemone even happier.> Matt in VA  <James (Salty Dog)> Tunzes In The Night (Night Mode For Streams)   4/18/06 Hi Mr. Fenner! <Scott F. in for Bob today!> A short one today. I have two Tunze Stream 6100 with a Multicontroller in my 90 gal. You sure know about the optional "night mode" gadget on the controller (flow a bit slower at night for simulating supposedly natural calmer sea at night because of high tide...). In another way one could argue that night is when you need more circulation to avoid CO2 buildup. So I would like your opinion on this. Is it really beneficial in the slightest to use that night-mode? Thanks! Have a nice day! Dominique <Hi Dominique! I am a big fan and user of Streams, myself. However, I have never utilized the "Night Mode" that the 7095 controller offers. I do like the "moon light", however! I personally have not seen any advantage to the night mode. I agree with your assertion that there is a greater buildup of CO2 at night, anyways. However, my real reason for not using the "Night Mode" is related to the reliability of the pumps. In my experience, unless you are absolutely vigilant about maintenance, regularly shutting down the pumps or throttling them into the Night Mode or Feeding Modes means more of a chance for calcium and gunk (that's a technical term, of course!) that may have built up in the impellor to prevent a re-start to the faster pulse modes. That means you'll have a higher likelihood of hearing that dreaded alarm go off, signaling another vinegar soak! No big deal, really, but annoying nonetheless. Another issue I have with the "Night Mode" is that, unless you are very careful about where you are aiming the Stream, you can end up with a simple laminar flow blasting away (even though it's at a lower speed) at your coral tissue all night. Just a thought. Anyways, end the end it's your call about this mode of operation, but I have never used this mode and have enjoyed great success with these pumps. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Aquarium Circulation Project - 03/30/06 Hey Guys, <<Gals here too...Hello Marc>> I am relatively new (6 months) to marine aquariums and a relatively old hand with most others (20+ years) but I am stumped with the almost contradictory advice one can get from the LFS or online. <<Yes, many opinions about, including mine...and I'm sure you realize any "one" is not necessarily the "only" correct answer.>> I would like some advice on the use of surge devices such as the Tunze system.  Is the high cost worth it? <<If you have the money to spend...yes...but can be accomplished more simply/cheaply utilizing a manifold system or even common powerheads to achieve random turbulent flow.>> Also I sat down and tried to work out a way to create a similar control system with my existing pump (Iwaki external pump) and came up with the idea of using a programmable relay (essentially a mini PLC) to control 24 volt solenoids on a PVC manifold. <<Sounds a bit "fiddly" to me, but the idea of employing a return manifold sounds good.  The solenoids might be fun to play with, but aren't a necessity.>> This gives me multiple inputs to control the solenoids such as feeding stops and light sensors.  I am keen to set this up as I can have infinite control with the relay but my main concern is that the majority of solenoids use a stainless steel actuator on the diaphragm and a stainless steel spring. <<Mmm, will become a problem if in contact with the saltwater.>> Is this going to be an issue for the tank as the stainless will be in contact with the salt water? <<Indeed yes, I have seen many grades of "stainless steel" corrode when in contact (even just dipped and not rinsed) with saltwater.>> As the solenoids are cheap I can always replace them on a regular basis but I am still a little concerned on any negative effects on my corals, inverts and fish. <<I would be too...can't say I think this is a good idea.>> Cheers Marc Sydney Australia <<Regards, EricR...Columbia, SC>> Plumbing My Chiller And Canister Filter On One Line? - 03/13/06 Hello WWM Crew, <<Howdy!>> I am beginning to set up a 75 gallon cold water marine tank in my living room to house an assortment of invertebrates and fish native to the Puget Sound and surrounding coastal waters. <<Neat!  I lived in Seattle (Belleview) several decades back and still remember visiting the aquarium with its displays of local marine fauna.  Lots of bright colors if I recall...>> I am planning on using an Arctica Titanium Chiller 1/4 HP to keep the tank around 45 to 50 degrees. <<Depending on ambient room temperature, lighting, pumps, etc., are you sure this chiller is big enough for that much pull-down? I also have a canister filter (Fluval 404) which I plan to use in conjunction with a protein skimmer (a Prizm hang-on unit) to keep things running smoothly with respect to water quality. <<Mmm...perhaps I can persuade you to take a look at the AquaC Remora hang-on protein skimmer.  A MUCH better choice in my opinion.>> I would like to plumb my system as simply as possible and would like to avoid having a lot of intakes and outflows. <<Why?  These can be effectively utilized for providing random turbulent flow in the tank.>> Currently, I am considering two options for plumbing my system with ½' Sch.40 PVC: <<Mmm, I would consider 1" as a minimum...can be bushed down at the equipment intakes as necessary.>> (1) Route a PVC intake over the side of the tank's back wall, <<Let me suggest...if at all possible, you will be much better off drilling this tank (through the back) and installing 1" (min.) bulkheads for your overflows.>> with a pre-filter or screen to keep things from getting sucked into the plumbing, this line would then go to the canister filter (which draws 340 gph), then route the outflow to the chiller (which according to the manufacture requires a minimum flow rate of 480 gph) and back up over the back of the tank. <<Seems obvious...the chiller will not receive enough flow.  In fact, to get the best efficiency from the chiller you should try to maximize flow through the unit based on the manufacture's specifications.>> My concern with this design is that the chiller will not receive enough flow by relying solely on the canister filter to provide the flow. <<Agreed>> Therefore, I was considering putting an in-line pump between the canister filter and the chiller to boost the flow <<!>> although I am concerned that this could be detrimental to the canister filter in some way (e.g., burn out the pump in the filter). <<Indeed, I would not do this.>> FYI -- the vertical distance between the top of the tank and the chiller and canister units is about 3 feet.  Would either of these options work with this design? <<Not in my opinion.>> (2) Route a PVC intake as above to a T, with one line running to the chiller with an in-line pump and the other line running to the canister filter. <<You need separate intakes/supplies from the tank for each unit.>> I could then route the return lines back to another T-valve and then run a single return line back into the tank as above. With this design, I am trying to figure out if the placement of a ball-valve in the line running from the T to the in-line pump on the chiller side would be sufficient to prevent water from being diverted solely to the chiller side given the higher flow required for the chiller. <<Bad idea all 'round my friend.  These "balancing acts" rarely if ever work out.>> Once the lines are primed, would I have any problems keeping adequate flows in both lines using the T valves from the single intake and to the single outflow line? <<Indeed...continuously...if it worked at all.>> If neither of these options seems like a good one, I could revert back to my original plan and plumb the chiller and canister filter separately with one intake and outflow for each component. <<Ah yes!  In the end, THIS will be the more simple solution.>> While I realize that a sump may be the best way to go, I am not sure that I am ready to tackle the plumbing on a sump setup as of yet. <<Is really very easy...maybe even less complicated than your other "solutions."  Please have a look through our plumbing FAQs here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm).  Lots and lots of good info!>> Thank in advance you for your advice! Jason <<Very welcome.  Regards, EricR>> Equipment/Pumps/Selection - 2/28/2006 Hi, I have a 72x18x15 tank <A well proportioned tank for fish/corals.> that will house frogspawn, hammers, open brain, along with some Monti cap.  I would like to know if a Mag 36 on a closed loop would provide good flow or this pump to big. <I think 3600gph is a little overkill.  Size so you end up with about 900 gph after figuring head losses.>  The tank has dual overflows (2-1in holes and 2-3/4" holes (plugged as of right now)) and a 60 gallon sump that will house a fuge (Chaeto), skimmer and return pump (Mag 36).  I could also regulate the flow on the return via a Gate Valve. I would also like to get a BTA <Do not recommend this mixed with corals, trouble on the way.> and I know they like flow.  The closed loop will have roughly 5 outlets along the top portion of the tank which the nozzles could be directed to provide flow anywhere. Thank you for your time and expertise. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jose

Circulation for a 68 Gallon Soft Coral Reef - 02/22/2006 Hello Crew, <Hi Greg.> I am planning on making my 68 gallon (36" x 18" x 24") into a soft coral reef. As of now, I just have the sand and live rock in the tank. As for flow, I only have a Aquaclear 500 filter (which will eventually become a refugium) and a Remora Pro skimmer. I know this is not enough water movement. What powerhead brand/type to recommend to keep soft corals happy? <It will depend on which you choose to keep of course, but you'll want to aim for a 10x per hour full tank turn. Many different brands to choose, a good BB would be a good place to research others experience on various types.>   How many powerheads do you recommend? <Depends on flow rate.> I'd like a powerhead that won't be too strong for the soft corals and that will stop detritus from piling up. <All comes down to finesse.>                                 Thanks in advance, Greg <Sure. - Josh> Marine Set Up  2/9/06 Hello and thanks in advance for your input. I've attached two photos of hitchhikers that came on my LR that I can't seem to ID. <Don't see any photos my friend.> I spent the past two days pouring over WWM and still can not seem to find an answer. The first photo, id1, seems to e some kind of living organism like a feather duster. Although the one pictured appears to be dead, there are other small patches of this that are have puny white ridges protruding outward. They are about an 1/8 of an inch across and tightly packed together. Any idea's as to what they / it is? Then in the second photo, id2, is what appears to be some kind of growth over the rock. Im pretty sure it is not alive, it has a porous surface. Not really worried about it but would like to know what it was or is. Also, am in the planning stages of setting up a 55gal reef tank. I plan on getting either a predrilled tank or having one drilled with two, 1" or 1 3/4" drain lines. Would this possibly be to much drainage? <If you go with the Gen-X, two 1" drains will be plenty.> The sump will be a custom 20gal. For inside the sump am planning on using an Aqua C Urchin pro for skimming,<Good skimmer.> 200watt Ebo heater, and am still confused on what I want as far as filtration. I planned on at least 100lbs of live rock as well as a 3" bed of 0.2-1.2mm aragonite which should take care of bio, <Will you be using live rock?> but I'm not sure what to use for chemical and mechanical. Would a power filter even be useful in this setup? <Will your sump have a drawer for chemical/mechanical media?> As for a return pump, am leaning towards the Gen-X PCX30 (825gph). Would this be sufficient flow or could I possibly be over loading the drains? <That should give you more than enough flow for the 55.> As far as lighting is concerned, I want to keep polyps, brains, maybe some SPS corals, as well as clams. Would 2 x 65w 12,000k daylight lamps and 2 x 65w actinic for a total of 260w of PC lighting be enough for some/all of these? <Borderline for brains, SPS and definitely not enough for clams.  I suggest going with twin 150 watt HQI's for what you have in mind.> Sorry for so many questions and I'm sure a lot of this is just preference but any advice that could save me from a head ache down the road would be much appreciated. Thanks, Joel F. <Do reply with answers to my questions and we can finish this up.  James (Salty Dog)> Water quality/circulation  - 01/24/06 Hi crew, <Hello Mohamed> I have read a number of times that the total volume of water should be circulated 10 to 20 times. Is anything higher than 20 times a problem or what is the maximum? <10-15X is good, anything higher would probably be a little much for corals, etc.> Will a water exchange of 5 to 10% <weekly?> help reduce nitrates instead of a 25% once a month? <Most definitely.> Is there a way to calculate a minimum/maximum sump size for a DSB based on the volume of water and live stock? <I go with manufacturers recommendations on sumps, i.e. a Model 75 is good for up to 75 gallon tanks.  Info on DSB's are easily found on the Wet Web Media.> Thanks <You're welcome> Mohamed. Too much filtering or water movement How much is too much? - 20/1/05 I was wondering what would be considered too much water movement. I have a 75 gallon tank and one Fluval 405. I wanted to put in a second Fluval 405 to make sure the tank stays nice and clean. But then I was worried about the problem of too much water movement. Right now the fish in the tank don't seem to have any problems with the one filter. What do you think? <Depends on the fish (and, more importantly, corals. However, in general, fish can withstand - and sometimes prefer - far higher currents than we provide. Ever swum in the ocean? Or a fast flowing river? If I am right in thinking that a 405 provides a max. flow of around 350gph, then two such filters would be perfectly suited for freshwater.... I would be looking for more flow for most marine tanks. Best regards, John> Thanks, Rusty

FOWLR Turnover & Circulation   1/18/06 WWM, <One of us> Your site is great -- thank you.  I have been reading it almost every other day for about 2 months now. Think I am now ready to ask some (hopefully intelligent) Q's.  I have a 125g glass tank (18'W x 72'L x 22'H) in the wall - planning a FOWLR.  B4 I start ordering things (want to soon), I have some Q's.  My goal is to keep $$ down w/o tank looking like crap or killing fish.  Here goes: Turnover: Q1) For FOWLR tank:   can I 'get away with' about 8X turnover (knowing 10X -20X is 'best')?  I am thinking of going with a 1,200 gph capable overflow box, but I'd be limited to 8X if I go with a less power hungry return pump as below. <Yes> Details:  I have 5.5' from floor to tank top, so I figure about 6' of head.  I am debating return pumps between OceanRunner 6500 vs. Mag 2400.  OR6500 flow is only 1,050 @ 6' (8X) but only uses 115 watts (annual cost of $140 for my area).  Mag 2400 pumps a nice 1,700 gph @ 6' (getting me to 10X max of overflow box after gate valve reduction to the Mag), but the thing uses 265 watts costing me $315/yr !! <You are wise to consider energy consumption and cost>   Since there's only a diff. of 2X turnover (unless I  add a 2nd OF box w/ Mag 2400) , I'd rather not pay an extra $175/yr if I can get away with the OR6500 (but don't want to threaten fish or have noticeably worse water clarity).  What to do?   Beyond the 2X difference above, would adding a 2nd OF and getting the full 1,700 gph (taking turnover to 14X) be worth the extra $175/year in electricity in terms of fish health and/or noticeable water clarity? (or only if I ever go reef) ? <I would start with the smaller flow rate pump for now> Circulation Beyond turnover, not sure how critical circulation is for FOWLR tanks -- seems like a very big deal for reef tanks.   Can I can get away with just the circ. from the OR6500 return or do I need some add'l in-tank circ.?   <Can be added later...> If so, I'd probably build a top-of-tank manifold  (unless I can  hide powerheads behind my rock which seems likely tough with a tank only 18' deep). I'd only consider powerheads because 2 smaller powerheads + OR6500 would still be less wattage than the Mag 2400.  If I go with manifold, I understand I would clearly need the Mag2400 or higher.    <Likely so, yes> Overflow Q's:  Not a reef-ready tank so must use OF box.  Read bad things about CPR losing siphon so will use a box w/ J tube(s). Q1:  I understand that in the event of a power outage, if sump has enuf capacity to hold water draining from OF box & pipes, and provided return lines have anti-siphon holes, no flooding should occur in sump (please confirm). <This is a correct statement> How many, where & how large do the anti-siphon holes in the return line(s) need to be? <"Over the top", "inside the tank, just below where you might want to have your regular water level at its lowest> I thought I read two 1/8'holes on opposite sides of each 1' PVC return pipe about 3/4' below water level but can't find now?   <This is about right> Q2:  I understand that if the OF box siphon has broken, when the power comes back on & return pump starts, main tank could flood. But, if the water in the return compartment of a Berlin style sump is only a few gallons because of the sectional nature of the sump, then is that the max. amount of water that could come back into tank (probably not enough to flood) since no more coming from OF box? <Correct... but a pain to deal with such a small transit volume in terms of keeping the system "topped off"> Q3:  If correct, then is 'worst case' of siphon breaking:  a) potential pump burn out once water in sump return compartment is gone (does such burnout apply only to submersibles or externals too?), and b) hassle to restart OF siphon? <Does apply to both types of pumps... once run more dry, their time is limited. Not hard to re-start these siphons... top the tank off, suck away or fill lines and drop...> Q4:  Is having two 600 gph OF boxes better than one 1200 GPH? <IMO/E, yes>   If so, why, and I'm confused about something: <In case one goes, the other may save your pump/s, livestock...> If I have a 1200 gph return pump and two 600 gph OF boxes, and one OF siphon breaks but the other keeps working, don't I run the risk of main tank overflow (since the sump will still be getting 600 GPH from the working OF but the return pump will be pumping 1200 gph back to tank?) <Not much... you can/should try this out to determine your maximum fill mark in your sump...> Isn't this worse than having only 1 OF with a broken siphon (where water flow back to tank is limited to sump return compartment)?  Or, is some equilibrium achieved at 600 gph due to compartmental design of sump as it only pumps back what is in the return compartment and this is limited to 600 gph?  Would it be a 'jerky' flow (where water flows into sump return box at 600 gph & gets pumped out at 1200 gph, leaving the return compartment dry for a few seconds before it fills again? <Will oscillate a bit, with the pump losing capacity (air lock around the impeller), catching up and then losing...> Sorry I am so confused here, but trying to determine if 2 OF's is better than 1 OF box. Thank you, Paul H. <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner> Closed loop manifold 12/21/05 I would like your opinion on what you think is a better solution, a closed loop manifold or Tunze Turbelle Stream pump and controller.  Both setups have their advantages and disadvantages and I wanted an opinion that I trust.  I currently have an Oceanic 215 gallon reef ready tank that does not have any extra holes drilled that I can use for a closed loop manifold.  I would therefore use the over the back design for the closed loop manifold.  My concerns with a closed loop manifold are: 1. Water noise since I cannot use my glass canopy on the aquarium <Shouldn't be any water noise if the loop is submerged.> 2. Pump watts (390) is higher than the Tunze and therefore consume more electricity 3. It can not reproduce the same fluctuation/pulses that the Tunze pumps and controller can 4. Size of pump(s) needed to match the Tunze gph 5. Wear and tear of the pump because of shutting it down daily for feeding Now I do have some concerns with the Tunze setup and they include: 1. Increasing the water temperature <Any pump will increase water temp somewhat.  In your 215 I wouldn't worry too much about it.> 2. Unsightly appearance in the display tank <Could hide with rockwork.> 3. Possibility of stray voltage <Should really use a GFIC receptacle on your system for your own safety.> I was hopping to find someone who had tried both setups (closed loop manifold/Tunze) and decided one was better than the other. <I've never tried the Tunze or know of anyone who has but I would opt for a wave making type system such as the Tunze over a closed loop system.  Much more beneficial.> I would like to wish everyone at WetWebMedia a Merry Christmas and to say thanks for all the hard work that everyone does, it greatly benefits the hobby.  I would be lost without you. <Thank you for your kind words Mark.  James (Salty Dog)> Mark Crist Information on Ocean Motion wavemakers  12/18/05 Dear Bob: <Hello Ed. You've got Josh instead.> I'm having a great time with the Conscientious Marine Aquarist. <An excellent read. Wait until the fourth or fifth go.> My LFS recommended an Oceans Motion wavemaker and I can't find any information on the company.  I've Googled the web with a variety of  spellings and I get a mention or two in forums but no company site. Can you help? <Sorry Ed. I don't have any info. on it, but I encourage you to read over our closed loop manifold FAQ's before making a decision on this. Probably much cheaper and almost guaranteed to be more efficient.> Thanks Ed <Gladly. Josh (huge fan of the closed loop manifold)>

Water flow and the Deep Sand Bed 11/30/2005 Hello Crew <Hi.> I have a small matter, I was hoping you could guide me to put an end to my tank being cloudy from my circulation pump stirring the sand bed. <Okay.> - 120 gal all-glass - 4 in DSB - return manifold schematic used from your WWW forum http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm, thanks a million for this thread. - return pump; external HD Blueline A.K.A. pan world magnetic pump model 200PS <Sounds good.> The pump is rated @ 1750PH @ 0 ft head - max ft head pressure 39 ft. I have calculated my plumbing system including the manifold to approx 10 ft head giving me 25 gpm or 1500 gph per the flow chart schematic. I had the system running approx 4 weeks prior to putting any lights to the tank. Now that the lights are up, I have noticed a large amount of sand mixing in the main tank and the water movement is pushing the sand bed out of conformity on the sides of the tank; actually displacing the sand completely as the glass is visible on both bottom sides of the glass tank. Not to mention the tons of microbubbles developing from the water rushing through the refugium / sump to the return pump to the tank. <Seems like the micro-bubble problem could se solved with a few strategically placed baffles.> I know I know, too much water movement. :((, I read many articles including your books and many other readings pushing for min 10 x the main tank volume min. I know that having 100/lbs LR, approx 120/lbs Arag DSB displaces the water volume for sure maybe 90 - 95 gal( I am not an engineer I only have resource material for reference). I have cut down the return pump ball valve almost 2/3. I have 1 - 3/4" loc line flat nozzle agitating the surface water wonderfully and, the other 3/4" round nozzle placed 1" below water level positioned for deeper water circulation around the rocks and tank. No matter what I do the only way to reduce the sand mixing is too almost shut the valve close to almost 1/4 open. This reduces the stirring of the sand completely but, my fear is now I am almost certain I am not even obtaining 3 x water volume circulation. I have invested in the http://secure.microbyte.net/virtual/webaquatics/onlinestore/detail.cfm?ID=OS1142&storeid=1 water flow gauge but it is ordered and I have to wait until I get it to know what my water movement could really be. I was curious, is there any other way to get the tank's sand to a more stable situation with my current water pump configuration? <Well this is one of the downfalls about keeping a DSB in a high flow reef tank. Your exact problem is why many hobbyist prefer to keep the DSB in the sump/refugium area rather than the display.  I would rather you not sacrifice the flow rates by closing the valve, I'm a huge proponent of LOTS of water flow. I have had this problem before and it came down to the way my return nozzle was aligned. IT was aligned much to liner and the flow was going directly into the sand bed. I remedied this by creating a much more turbulent flow environment by positioning the returns aimed directly at each other or other obstacles such as rock and glass and other power heads.> Thanks in advance and thanks a million. <I hope this has helped.> Sincerely Maurice Rousseau Jr. <Adam J.> 

New 120 with questions re plumbing, circulation mainly 11/4/05 Hello Crew Members, Invaluable site for this wonderful hobby. Don't know how you find the time to help us. <Fit bits in here and there, lots of friends...> I'm moving soon and will be replacing my 3 year old Oceanic 58 gallon with an All Glass 120 (48x24x24) drilled with two overflows. My 58 will be partitioned and used as the refugium (first compartment holding the skimmer, second holding a deep sand bed/algae, and the third holding the return pump. Right now all I use is a hob skimmer and a Tetra Tec 500 for chemical filtration (rated for 100 gallon with four cartridges of carbon, etc). This system has been very reliable with enviable parameters. The Tetra Tec will stay hanging on the 58 gallon as chemical filtration when the new tank is set up.  I have no experience with sumps except what I've read on your site. The All Glass tank has two 1 inch feeds in the overflows and two 3/4 inch returns. <Need more... and/or larger diameter, particularly for moving water out of the main tank...> Plan on hard piping but up to suggestions. What would you consider to be the largest return pump safe for this system? <Much for you to know... not useful to simply respond here... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm. From the top down...> All seems to be fuzzy math to me.  I was planning on getting a Mag 24 (2400gph) and equipping with a valve to control the flow back to the tank. <...?> My tank now has close to 20 times turn over. Any suggestions would be helpful so the new house doesn't flood and run me out this hobby.  As always, your service can't be measured. Jeff <Your fittings won't allow for this rate of flow... Please read, take good notes. Bob Fenner> 

Salinity problem 10/31/05 I am starting a 55 gallon saltwater tank up. I have not cured the tank yet. My problem is the salinity. One side of the tank reads too high and the other side reads too low. I have four powerheads running at all times. The temp is perfect, the pH is fine. How do I fix the salinity? Oh and I am using a swing arm hydrometer to measure. <Sounds like you have inadequate water movement. Powerheads are a horrible way to move water in an aquarium, though they are cheap. Please see http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2003/short.htm for some great water movement info> Any recommendations will do.. <Hope I've been a bit helpful> New to saltwater tanks <Definitely read everything applicable on this site, and check out the Advanced Aquarist archives as well. Good luck, and feel free to email us with further questions! M. Maddox> 

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